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Fri Jul 31 03:04:30 SAST 2015

Woman sprays 'AE911' on iconic Delacroix painting

Sapa-AFP | 08 February, 2013 11:41
Liberty Leading the People
Image by: Eugène Delacroix

France's Louvre museum shut down one of its galleries Friday after a woman vandalised an iconic painting by Delacroix by writing on it with a black marker.

The 28-year-old woman was apprehended by an attendant late Thursday after scrawling "AE911" on "Liberty Leading the People", which was on show in the Louvre's recently-opened satellite branch in the northern former mining town of Lens.

It was not immediately clear what the slogan meant.

Police detained her and on Friday the museum said it was temporarily closing the wing of the museum in which the painting was being displayed.

The Louvre said in a statement that a specialist art restorer was being sent to the site but that it believed the damage was not significant and could be easily repaired.

A prosecutor in the nearby town of Bethune who is handling the case said he had asked for a psychiatric evaluation of the young woman who he said appeared to be "unbalanced".

He said her reasons for defacing the painting were not yet clear.

The painting by Delacroix commemorates France's July Revolution of 1830.

It shows a bare-breasted woman personifying Liberty leading the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the French tricolour in one hand and a bayonetted musket in the other.

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