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the Louvre in Lens

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The recent defacing of Eugène Delacroix’s iconic painting “La Liberté Guidant le Peuple” reminded me to post some thoughts on my recent visit to the new Louvre-Lens in Northern France. The gallery, deigned by Japanese architects SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, opened in late 2012 and is the first outpost of the Louvre Museum outside Paris.

As well as Delacroix’s painting the gallery contains a range of exhibits from the Louvre Collection which are all displayed in one continuous gallery. The gallery does not separate the exhibits on the basis of regions or styles, in the more conventional gallery layout, but places all the exhibits in an enormous architectural timeline. This results in an interesting juxtaposition of works, objects that one would not usually find adjacent to each other, demonstrating the uniqueness of some cultures and continual progression of others.

Upon approaching the gallery its huge scale becomes immediately apparent. From a distance the…

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