Eugène Delacroix


Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting

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La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People) (1830). Eugène Delacroix
Oil on Canvas. 260 cm x 325 cm

Louvre Museum. Paris, France


The energy that makes the painting vibrate, the color and the passion the work transmits are characteristic of Delacroix. Those characteristics turned him into the great master of the Romanticism.

Neoclassicism prevailed at the beginning of the 19th century and Delacroix broke with that tradition. For that reason the academicians repudiated him at first as they considered him “wild” and “maniac” and they joked that he painted with a “drunk broom.”

The academicians resisted him, but he was renowned for the resources he used to find simple solutions in the complex composition of the work. This painting is an example. Delacroix had a prodigious imagination to synthesize a historical fact or tell a story in one image in a poetic way.
We can also notice in this work, that a great painter of another time that he admired was Rubens, who influenced his wonderful figures, in the movement and intense color.

And speaking of color, Delacroix with his vibrant palette was a decisive influence on Impressionism and the avant-garde movements of the beginning of the 20th century. He was admired by all his successors, including Cézanne —the father of Modern art— and Gustave Moreau, for example, in whose studio the main fauves (French painters characterized by the use of strident colors) studied.


Recommended links:

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: The Raft of the Medusa, Géricault.

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: Mont Saint-Victoire, Paul Cézanne.

Stories behind Works of Art: The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli.

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, El Greco.

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: When Will You Marry?, Paul Gauguin.

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