The Louvre Sends Delacroix’s Famous “Liberty Leading the People” to Lens Outpost

The Louvre‘s outpost in the northern French city of Lens, Louvre-Lens, is getting a Mona Lisa of its own from its Parisian parent institution: Eugène Delacroix‘s iconic portrayal of the popular revolts of the summer of 1830, “Le 28 Juillet : La Liberté guidant le peuple” (“28th of July: Liberty Guiding the People”), will be the satellite museum’s marquee masterpiece when it opens on December 12.

The dramatic painting, based on Delacroix’s own first-hand experience of the armed conflicts of the previous summer, made its debut at the 1831 Salon. It was also used as the basis for the 100 Franc bank note prior to the adoption of the Euro. It will hang in the new Louvre satellite for a year, alongside another 205 artifacts on loan from the most visited museum in the world, Le Figaro reports.

Another work removed from its longtime location on the walls of the Louvre palace on Tuesday was Ingre‘s “Portrait of Monsieur Bertin” (1832).

“Every moment is critical,” Tony Abel, who oversaw the masterpiece’s removal and transportation, told Le Figaro. “If one peg or joint gets loose we stop everything. Zero risk doesn’t exist but, fortunately, in 15 years of experience I haven’t had any problems.”

— Benjamin Sutton