The National Gallery of Ireland is asking the Government to plug a hole of almost €2m, due to lost revenue following the Covid-19 pandemic.
It comes as the gallery prepares to reopen on July 20 after more than three months in lockdown.
New measures will include an online ticketing system which has allocated time slots to prevent queues and an end to audio guides, school tours and large group visits.
The timeframe covering the loan of several art collections has also been extended.
Although it will mean disappointment for larger groups, gallery director Sean Rainbird promises the re-imagined gallery will provide individuals with a more personal experience.
"I have always been able to go into the gallery in the early morning and evenings when it is closed and it's rather magical to be there on your own. The paintings become like old friends," he says.
"Hearing from colleagues in Europe, there won't be a sudden rush of people. People are quite tentative as they step out into the wider world again. So after so many weeks of closure this will enable everyone else to greet them like old friends. If you are one of the first visitors you can get that same feeling when you come upon the Vermeer or Caravaggio.
"It's not going to be so full of people and the sound of silence is what visitors will encounter, rather than lots of language school students next to them."
Asked if there will be a limited time allocated in front of popular masterpieces such as Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ and Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, Rainbird said: "We will have that option in our back pocket. If everyone ends up in one room in front of one painting, we will have to regulate it but we will try to do it - as far as we can - with a light and friendly touch."
Rainbird says he is determined the gallery will be as "little prescriptive as possible" with social distancing signs that are "more aesthetic than the glaring yellow", while staff have been specially trained to make suggestions of routes visitors should take, rather than directing.
The art historian wants to allow people "to have that moment of solace without feeling that they are being pushed around a route on a conveyor belt".
With an expected loss of between 300,000 and 400,000 visitors as a result of the closure, Rainbird also wants the Government to help with funding. "It's a moral issue for us to carry on doing the work as best we can under very difficult circumstances," he says.
"There is going to be so many political pressures and we understand that. We have made the point that culture helps us in times of need and it does need to translate into money.
"I am very aware that social welfare, health and housing are the big political issues and quite rightly - but I do think that culture plays a very important role."
Art enthusiasts will be pleased to learn the gallery has extended its loans of several exhibitions before they leave Ireland. An exhibition of botanical art will be extended until the end of August and the photography exhibition 'Moment in Time: A Legacy of Photographs' was due to go back to Chicago in May but will now stay until September.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
Entry will be through the Merrion Square entrance. Exit through the Millennium Wing (on to Clare Street).
One-way system through the gallery for visitors.
A limited number of visitors will be allowed in at any one time. The gallery plans to provide recommended routes through the building for visitors who would like that option.
No audio guides will be available as a precaution, but there will be information available online to help visitors with their experience.
Hygiene controls including hand sanitiser will be available.
Cloakrooms will be closed.