Paris: A young and apparently "unstable" woman used an indelible marker to deface renowned painting "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugene Delacroix, which was being exhibited at a branch of the Louvre in the northern French city of Lens.
The scrawl was cleaned off in a couple of hours without leaving a trace, the museum said in a communique, adding that the painting will be back on show Saturday, though security measures will be stepped up.
The incident occurred just before the museum was to close Thursday evening, when the young woman jabbed a marker at the lower right-hand part of the painting that represents liberty as a woman leading a popular uprising.
The 28-year-old vandal was subdued by a museum employee with the help of a visitor and taken to a police station in Lens.
The motive for the vandalism is as yet unknown, though some media said the woman wrote "AE911" on the painting, which could have some relation to an American group that asks for the investigation of the 9/11 attacks in New York to be reopened.
The Louvre in Paris sent a restorer to Lens and it took him only two hours to repair the damage.
The famous work, painted by Delacroix in 1830 and inspired by the popular uprisings in Paris in July of that year against Charles X, has been in the Louvre at Lens since Nov 21, shortly after French President Francois Hollande inaugurated that branch of the renowned Parisian museum.