Europe

Jean-Luc Martinez: New director of the Louvre

Published 1506 GMT (2306 HKT) November 26, 2013
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With 9.7 million people visiting the Louvre in Paris last year, it is the most popular museum on the planet. Now the famous French art gallery has a new boss... Thomas Coex/Getty Images/File
Meet Jean-Luc Martinez, the 49-year-old archeology and art history professor who pretended to be an average tourist -- and spent three-and-a-half hours queuing to get inside the Louvre. "If you are a professional, there is a risk at certain times you are only going to look at the museum with the eyes of a professional," said the museum's new director. Miguel Medina/Getty Images/File
Around 70% of people who visit the Louvre are foreigners on their first trip, and Martinez wants to create a more welcoming environment. "We have to make sure that the people who visit -- and who might only stop by the Louvre once and a trip to Paris is the holiday of their life -- that they are received with a certain dignity," he said. Pierre Verdy/Getty Images/File
While many visitors head straight for the Mona Lisa, the museum offers a vast collection of precious works, often overlooked. Martinez hopes to invest millions into making the gallery more accessible, through educational areas and translating information plaques into two or three languages. Loic Venance/Getty Images/File
The Louvre brand has undergone huge expansion in recent years, with the opening of sister gallery, Louvre Lens, in a former mining town in northern France. The gleaming museum displays around 200 works on loan from Paris. Philippe Huguen/Getty Images/File
Work is now underway to build another Louvre in Abu Dhabi. The United Arab Emirates is paying €400 million ($538 million) for the prestigious Louvre name, which the French institution hopes to pump back into its own makeover. Marwan Naamani/Getty Images/File