Louvre Moves Masterpieces to Lens

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The Louvre is combatting its elitist stigma by opening a satellite gallery in the provincial mining town of Lens, chosen for its symbolic weight as a town that has “suffered much in the past” (Eugene Delecroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ is one of the artworks being moved to the new location). 

The controversial move breaks with two centuries of history by removing Da Vinci’s newly restored ‘Virgin and Child with Saint Anne’ from the famed location for the first time, as well as masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Raphael and Rubens, and as a selection of classical works.

The gallery’s layout is another groundbreaking development, displaying 200 significant works – from ancient sculpture through to 19th century French painting – in a long corridor unseparated by style or era.

The franchise is intended to extend tourism beyond Paris, and the gallery is reportedly planning another branch in Abu Dhabi. The glass structure, which sits in the shadow of the Lens football stadium, cost $250m and opens next Wednesday.

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