The courtyard around the Louvre Museum’s iconic pyramid will disappear this week as part of the celebrations of the iconic monument’s 30th anniversary in a project that kicked off on Thursday, March 26.
French visual artist JR masterminded the art project, in a similar vein to his previous project when he made the 70-foot-high pyramid disappear behind a giant black-and-white photo three years ago.
A small battalion of 400 volunteers began by pasting a colossal 160,000 square feet paper image over the courtyard and the emptied fountain basins with brooms and large vats of wallpaper glue.
The image will create an illusion of a larger pyramid emerging from the rocks as if it were discovered by an archaeological excavation.
The new optical illusion will be unveiled on Friday evening, the exact date of the anniversary. As it will only be fully visible from the Museum’s roof, JR’s team installed two giant screens on the courtyard to allow visitors to see the result from the ground.
On March 30 and 31, the courtyard will be normally open for tourists who will walk on it and observe the optical illusion from the ground.
Inaugurated in March 1989, and designed by 101-year-old Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei, the pyramid is the most popular of the series of ambitious projects built by former president Francois Mitterrand in the eighties and nineties that dramatically changed the image of the French capital.
The idea back then was to create a single central entrance for the Museum through which visitors would access the different wings. The project included the construction of underground parking, a shopping mall and a convention centre.