“We rediscovered the momentum of freedom”: Delacroix’s famous painting “Liberty leads the people”


It is one of the icons of the Louvre, “Liberty Leading the People”, painted in 1830 by Eugène Delacroix, was displayed in the exhibition room on Tuesday. It underwent renovation last October.

After the Mona Lisa, it is undoubtedly the most famous painting in the Louvre. Freedom at the head of the peoplethis Eugène Delacroix painting, painted in 1830, returns to the walls of its exhibition room this Monday, April 30, after a six-month restoration.

This restoration was eagerly awaited as Eugène Delacroix’s most famous painting had not been seen for 75 years. “The first thing that jumps out at you is this blue-white-red color chord, the chord of the tricolor flag.describes Sébastien Allard, Director of the Department of Paintings at the Louvre Museum. “It is also clear that with the lightening of the paint, we have found the plans and therefore the momentum of the Liberty”enthuses the expert.

“We really have a freedom that comes upon the viewer, we either follow it or we are crushed by it.”

Two restorers, including Bénédicte Trémolières, spent six months concentrating on Delacroix’s masterpiece in a museum room converted into a workshop. It is indeed impossible to remove this very large format from the Louvre. They gradually removed the eight layers of varnish applied since 1949, rediscovering the true colors, especially on the Liberty dress. “Due to the presence of varnishes, the dress looked uniformly yellow. We realized that Delacroix ended up first working on a dress that was more of a gray-white tone with bluish nuances and added touches of yellow that bring this dress to life”explains Bénédicte Trémolières.

Risky resettlement

Visitors will therefore have a new look at the painting, which will be moved between the restoration and exhibition rooms on a cart through the Louvre’s underground corridors.

“There are several hundred meters of corridors to cross, we drive very slowly, we always have to be careful around doors, pipes, cables, because the picture with the frame is almost three meters high.”

Popularity is for Sébastien Allard Freedom at the head of the people he’s probably never been this strong. “It is a table that is constantly renewed depending on the events that we experience and especially political events, it is also a table that has been used very often in freedom struggles around the world, so it is an icon associated with the very idea of ​​freedom ,” he says.

in 2025 Crusaders in Constantinople, another large format by Delacroix will be restored. See Freedom at the head of the people at the Louvre, see you on Thursday, May 2nd, the museum is closed on May 1st.


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