Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: Sandrine Marty / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP 16:36 pm, September 20, 2023

Eugène Delacroix's famous painting, Liberty Leading the People, leaves the Louvre for restoration. A process that should last until spring 2024 and is part of a major restoration campaign of the "large formats of the 19th century" launched in 2019 by the Louvre Museum.

The freedom guiding the people of Eugène Delacroix was won Wednesday with infinite precautions from his walls at the Louvre Museum for a restoration that must last until spring 2024, AFP found Wednesday. The topless woman, waving the blue-white-red flag on a barricade and in the middle of insurgents, in the heart of Paris, was made by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) in 1830, the year of the fall of King Charles X and the accession to the throne of Louis-Philippe I.

A major restoration campaign launched in 2019

An allegorical work inspired by the revolution of the Three Glorious Days 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 Taking of Constantinople by the Crusaders and The Death of Sardanapale, Delacroix's two largest 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 upstream by radiographs and analyzes" of the canvas, the restoration of Liberty Leading the People intervenes "as part of a major restoration campaign launched in 2019 for the large formats of the nineteenth century," said AFP the director of the Louvre's painting department, Sébastien Allard. To restore the brilliance of the painting, "oxidized varnishes that have become yellow and alter the blue-white-red chromatic range of Liberty must be removed using solvents," he said.

The painting will be temporarily replaced by the painting that was located just opposite, The Souliote Women of Ary Scheffer (1827). Since 2015, more than 200 restorations, some of them large-scale, have been carried out by the Louvre Museum from Leonardo da Vinci's La Belle Ferronnière (2015) to Constance Mayer-Lamartinière's The Unfortunate Mother (2022). Eugène Delacroix's Women of Algiers (2022) and Scenes from the Massacres of Scio (2020), as well as Titian's Venus du Pardo (2016) and Nicolas Poussin's L'Inspiration du poète (2019) have also been restored.