Art experts believe the change in venue, which sees Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500-year-old portrait hung on its own free standing wall, will bring out the painting’s true colours.

“She’s not as dark as we think,” said Cecile Scaillierez, a curator at the museum.

Da Vinci’s painting of the mysterious lady with the enigmatic smile is now displayed in the Salle des Etats, a large gallery equipped with improved lighting and climate controls.

It’s hoped the four-year refurbishment, costing US$6m (A$8m), will provide a better view of the masterpiece to the six million people who come to visit every year.

The cost of the work was virtually all funded by the private Japanese television Nippon Television Network (NTV).

The new setting provides more space for the small painting, which is only 21 by 30 inches in size.

In its new home, the portrait is at one end of the hall dedicated to 16th-century Italian paintings, protected by unbreakable, non-reflective glass and set against a marbled beige wall.

A heavy wooden semicircular railing keeps visitors back.

About 50 other 16th century Italian paintings, including the Louvre’s largest painting, “The Wedding Feast at Cana”, are also in the collection on display.

The Louvre, the biggest art museum in the world, holds 6,000 paintings, but most visitors head straight for the “Mona Lisa,” better known in France under title of “La Joconde”.

The famous portrait, believed to be of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of an obscure Florentine merchant, was painted between 1503 and 1506 on a thin panel of wood.

The artist brought the painting to France in 1517 and it has been in the Louvre since 1804.

Last year Louvre officials said the “Mona Lisa” showed signs of wear and have ordered an in-depth technical and scientific analysis to determine the painting’s state.