Museums France

Painting by Dèlacroix defaced in Louvre-Lens

Woman arrested for vandalising Liberty Leading the People

Liberty Leading the People on view at the Louvre outpost in Lens. Photo: flickr user Yann Caradec

Eugene Dèlacroix’s painting Liberty Leading the People, 28 July 1830, has been defaced while on view at the Louvre-Lens in northern France. A 28-year-old woman scrawled across the bottom of the painting with a marker pen shortly before the museum closed yesterday (7 February), Le Monde reports. She was apprehended by security staff and then arrested by the police.

Specialists from the Louvre's paintings department were due to assess the work last night. “On first view, the markings appear to be superficial and may be easily removed,” said a museum statement. After the initial assessment of the damage, a decision would be taken whether the painting will be removed for restoration.

Dèlacroix’s painting is on display in the main exhibition area, entitled the Gallery of Time, at the Louvre-Lens, the satellite branch that opened last December.

Update: the Louvre issued a statement today (8 February) saying that the conservator Anne Perrin has successfully removed the markings. The restoration work was done on site and took less than two hours. "The work has not been damaged as the marks were superficial and on the surface layer of varnish. They did not penetrate the paint layer [underneath]," the statement says. The painting will go on show again tomorrow from 10am when the Louvre-Lens reopens. The museum says it plans to step up its security measures.

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12 Feb 13
16:36 CET


I taught Art History at High School level for two decades! Delacroix has always been one of my favourite artists. I am travelling Europe for the first time ever, specifically, France and Italy to eventually see all the Grandmasters since the Rennaissance to the (Post-Modern), Neo-Experssionists, such as Anselm Kiefer. A trip of a life-time for me to eventually observe that which I have been teaching for so long and which has eluded me for so long! I need to see Liberty Leading the People and wish for more information i.e. the current state of the artworks in the Louvre which attract so much attention. Regards, Michael Chitter

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