One of Delacroix’s most famous paintings, the revolutionary “Liberty Leading the People” (1830), was vandalized last night at the Louvre’s new offshoot in Lens, northern France, the museum said.
A 28-year-old woman inscribed a message using marker on the canvas’s lower half.
“At first sight, the inscription, which is superficial, should be easy to clean,” the Louvre said in a release.
The woman was immediately overtaken by a museum guard and a visitor, and placed in police custody, said the Louvre, which is pressing charges after the incident.
A specialist restorer went to Lens last night to examine the painting. Her team will determine whether the work can be restored in Lens or whether it has to be brought back to Paris, the Louvre said.
In a similar episode last October, a visitor to London’s Tate Modern defaced one of Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals by painting over a small corner of the canvas.
The vandal, Vladimir Umanets, was jailed for two years. Tate later said the damage was worse than expected and could take as long as 18 months to repair.