Liberty Leading the People leaves the Louvre for restoration for several months

By Le Figaro with AFP


In the preparatory work for the restoration, the experts determined the varnishes of Liberty Leading the People (detail) had oxidized, altering the perception of the colors of the painting. Michel Urtado/RMN-Grand Palais (Louvre museum)

Since 2015, more than 200 restorations, some of which concern iconic works from the museum, have been carried out.

Liberty Leading the People of Delacroix was removed on Wednesday with infinite precautions from its picture rails at the Louvre Museum for a restoration which should last until spring 2024, AFP noted on Wednesday. The topless woman, brandishing the blue-white-red flag on a barricade and among insurgents, in the heart of Paris, was painted by Delacroix (1798-1863) in 1830, the year of the fall of King Charles and the accession to the throne of Louis-Philippe I.

An allegorical work inspired by the Three Glorious Revolution in France, this large-format oil on canvas (3.25 m by 2.60 m) is usually exhibited in one of the large red rooms of the Louvre alongside The Capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders and of The Death of Sardanapalus, Delacroix’s two greatest paintings. Restored for 10 months, The Death of Sardanapalus should return to its location on September 27, according to the Louvre Museum.

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Long prepared in advance by x-rays and analyzes» of the canvas, the restoration of Liberty Leading the People intervenes “as part of a major restoration campaign launched in 2019 for large formats from the 19th century», Specified to AFP the director of the paintings department of the Louvre, Sébastien Allard. To restore its shine to the painting, “the oxidized varnishes which have become yellow which alter the blue-white-red chromatic range of Liberty must in particular be removed using solvents“, he clarified. The table will be temporarily replaced by the table which was located directly opposite, Soulful Women by Ary Scheffer (1827).

Since 2015, more than 200 restorations, some of which are large-scale, have been carried out by the Louvre museum in La Belle Ferronnière from Leonardo da Vinci (2015) to The Unfortunate Mother by Constance Mayer-Lamartinière (2022). The Women of Algiers (2022) and Scenes from the Scio macres (2020) by Eugène Delacroix, as well as The Venus of Pardo by Titian (2016) or The poet’s inspiration by Nicolas Poussin (2019) have also been restored.

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