The famous cave in southwest France was discovered in the summer of 1940 by two boys looking for their dog, which had fallen down a hole. That easily, they stumbled on to 19,000-year-old paintings, and the very beginnings of art history.
From the late 40s to the early 60s more than 1,000,000 million eager tourists followed the path of that hapless French dog, leaving the walls of Lascaux – thanks to their steaming breath – covered with green moss and white calcite.
In 1963 Lascaux was closed, but in 1983, “‘to relieve public disappointment,” an exact replica was opened nearby!
Nowadays, pretty much everyone is happy – except, I guess, those who want to have a “Pique-Nique” there. Groups of tourists from around the world line up excitedly for the 40-minute tour of Lascaux II.
So think of that overworked Mona Lisa in the Louvre. In this case, moss and calcite are not the problem, nor is steamy breath, but rather the masses of tourist bodies which make any meaningful experience of the original Leonardo all but impossible. And think of that very nice copy of Mona at the Walters, with no one in your way.
Lascaux II works, so why not Mona Lisa II?