Monday, July 6, 2009


AKA Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix
Born: 26-Apr-1798
Birthplace: Charenton-Saint-Maurice, France
Died: 13-Aug-1863
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Painter
Nationality: France
Executive summary: 19th century French painter
Father: Charles Delacroix (government minister, b. 1741, d. 1805)
Mother: (d. 1814)
High School: Lycée Henri-IV
University: L'Ecole des Beaux-Art (1816-)

c. 1837
Oil on canvas, 65 x 54,5 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
© Web Gallery of Art

Quote by the artist:
"What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."
Eugene Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix (portrait by Nadar)
From Wikimedia Commons
Delacroix's use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. A fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott and the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
In contrast to the Neoclassical perfectionism of his chief rival Ingres, Delacroix took for his inspiration the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance, with an attendant emphasis on color and movement rather than clarity of outline and carefully modeled form. Dramatic and romantic content characterized the central themes of his maturity, and led him not to the classical models of Greek and Roman art, but to travel in North Africa, in search of the exotic.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire described his hero Eugène Delacroix as 'a volcanic crater artistically concealed beneath bouquets of flowers.' Beneath the surface of Delacroix's polished elegance and charm roiled turbulent interior emotions. In 1822 Delacroix took the Salon by storm. Although the French artistic establishment considered him a wild man and a rebel, the French government, bought his paintings and commissioned murals throughout Paris. Though Delacroix aimed to balance classicism and Romanticism, his art centered on a revolutionary idea born with the Romantics: that art should be created out of sincerity, that it should express the artist's true feelings and convictions. Educated firmly in the classics, Delacroix often depicted mythological subjects, themes encouraged by the reigning Neoclassical artists at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. But Delacroix's brilliant colors and passionate brushwork frightened them; their watchwords were 'noble simplicity and calm grandeur.' They barred him from academy membership until 1857, and even then he was prohibited from teaching in the École des Beaux-Arts. For those very reasons, he was an inspiration to the Impressionists and other young artists. Paul Cézanne once said, 'We are all in Delacroix.' Intensely private, Delacroix kept a journal that is renowned as a profoundly moving record of the artistic experience.
(© J. Paul Getty Trust)

Liberty Leading the People (1830, Louvre)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Delacroix's most influential work, completed in 1830 and displayed at the 1831 Salon was the painting Liberty Leading the People. In terms of both subject matter and technique it highlights the marked differences that were evolving between the romantic approach of Delacroix and the neoclassical style of one of his most important forerunners, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.
Probably Delacroix's best known painting, it is a striking image of Parisians, having taken up arms, marching forward under the banner of the Flag of France representing liberty and freedom. Delacroix, although notably apolitical, was inspired to invoke the romantic image of the spirit of liberty by the political turmoil happening in France at that time. 'Liberty' is portrayed as part woman, part goddess showing more strength than femininity. The soldiers lying dead in the foreground offer a poignant juxtaposition to the symbolic female figure illuminated triumphantly in a shimmering cloud.
Rather than glorifying the actual revolution which overthrew King Charles X, Delacroix seems to have been trying to represent the spirit and the character of the people who, even after democratic reforms and long years of struggle, found themselves with another king when Louis-Philippe came to power.
The French government bought the painting but officials deemed its glorification of liberty too inflammatory and removed it from the public's view. Still, Delacroix continued to receive many government commissions for murals and ceiling paintings. Following the Revolution of 1848 and the end of the reign of King Louis Philippe, the painting, Liberty Leading the People, was finally put on display by the newly elected President, Napoleon III. Today, it can be viewed at the Louvre.
The boy holding a gun up on the right is sometimes thought to have been the inspiration for the Gavroche character in Victor Hugo's 1862 novel, Les Misérables.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
'The last of the great artists of the Renaissance and the first modern'; thus Baudelaire on Delacroix. For Baudelaire, Delacroix's position as one of the great figures of art history was assured not just by his daring and originality qualities generally considered Romantic - but for the fact that they found expression within a tradition. Another great poet, Paul Valéry restated this paradox: 'The veritable tradition in great things is not to repeat what others have done, but to rediscover the spirit that created these great things - and creates utterly different things in different times.' Delacroix rediscovered the spirit of Michelangelo and Rubens, but the masterpieces that he created under their influence are of a very different kind. In his turn, Picasso made many studies of Delacroix's Women of Algiers. In Kahnweiler's imaginary dialogue, Picasso tells Delacroix: 'You took what you could from Rubens and made Delacroix of it. In the same way, I think of you and what I make is my own.'

Algerian Women in Their Apartments
Oil on canvas
71 x 90 1/4" (180 x 229 cm)
Musée du Louvre, Paris
From The Artchive

'Though we trace Delacroix's artistic heritage directly back to Michelangelo and Rubens, in the matter of colour there is a further influence, that of the Venetian school. Delacroix is a master of colour, and his influence on Cezanne and Matisse is clear. In his own words: "The work of a painter who is not a colourist is illumination rather than painting. If one intends something other than cameos, colour is, strictly speaking, one of the founding principles of painting, no less so than chiaroscuro, proportion and perspective... Colour gives the appearance of life.'
'As early as 1824, Stendhal had perceived in Delacroix 'a pupil of Tintoretto'. In his Journal, Delacroix noted: 'In Giorgione, Titian and their pupils, Venice possesses artists who perform miracles of colour without any derogation from beauty.' In Delacroix's words, 'all the great problems of art were resolved in the 16th century'; perfection 'in drawing, grace and composition' had been attained by Raphael, and in 'colour and chiaroscuro" by Correggio, Titian, and Paolo Veronese. Nonetheless, it was Rubens who, after Michelangelo, left the most profound mark upon Delacroix's art. Delacroix was overwhelmed. The affinity between the swirling dynamic vitality of Rubens and Delacroix's art is clear: 'Then comes Rubens, who had already forgotten the traditions of simplicity and grace. He created a new ideal through sheer force of genius. Strength, striking effects and expressiveness are pushed to their limits.'
(From Gilles Neret, "Eugene Delacroix 1798-1863: The Prince of Romanticism", courtesy of The Artchive)

Michelangelo in his Studio
Oil on canvas, 40 x 32 cm
Musée Fabre, Montpellier
© Web Gallery of Art

In England. He was inspired by the bright colors of the landscape painters John Constable and J.M.W. Turner.
In North Africa. The colors and violent contrasts of North Africa inflamed his work. He became one of the greatest animal painters being able to make his painted animals seem alive. He loved the natural beauty in the movements of animals and spent time at the zoo sketching tigers, lions, horses, and any other animals that caught his imagination. With colors, the scene shows an exciting view of African life in his time. One of the best paintings he liked best was a violent lion and a rearing horse in the swirling dust. One after another, he filled his sketchbook with action-packed drawings which he used as subjects for his paintings.

Lion Hunt
Oil on canvas, 86 x 115 cm
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
© Web Gallery of Art

Jaguar Attacking a Horseman
c. 1855
Oil on canvas, 23,5 x 28,5 cm
National Gallery, Prague
© Web Gallery of Art

In Morocco, Algiers, and Spain. His experiences in these places provided him with oriental flavor and exotic subjects such as the Algerian women who enchanted him. He sketched them at their daily activities noting the minutest details of color and design. The rich interweaving of colors in such scenes as Women of Algiers would inspire future Impressionist painters

The Fanatics of Tangier
Oil on canvas, 98 x 131 cm
Institute of Arts, Minneapolis
© Web Gallery of Art

The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage
Oil on canvas, 384 x 343 cm
Musée des Augustins, Toulouse
© Web Gallery of Art

Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable
Oil on canvas, 64,6 x 81 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
© Web Gallery of Art

He worked on a series of panels for the library of the Chamber of Deputies, choosing as his subject the history of ancient civilization. Despite this official recognition and the fact that the government had bought his Massacre at Chios, he was regarded as a rebel in the art world and was not elected to the Institut de France until 1857.

Decoration of the west wall
Oil and virgin wax on plaster
Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon, Paris
© Web Gallery of Art

A man of immense energy, he also interested himself in politics and literature. He was a friend of George Sand whom he painted. He also painted the composers Chopin and Paganini. Most of his portraits reflect strong personal feelings, primarily because they were people he knew and liked. His daily accounting in Journal which he kept from the age of 23 until his death records fascinating details of his life and work.

George Sand
Oil on canvas, 1838
31 x 22 3/8 inches (79 x 57 cm)
Ordrupgaardsamlingen, Copenhagen
Image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Frédéric Chopin
Oil on canvas, 1838
17 7/8 x 14 3/4 inches (45.7 x 37.5 cm)
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Perhaps the greatest figure in 19th century French art, Delacroix was one of the most accomplished colorists of all time. His pictures were filled with action, with bold swinging brush strokes loaded with vigorous colors. In spite recurring illness, Delacroix continued painting. He died at 65.
Eugene Delacroix died in Paris, France and was interred there in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery. His house, formerly situated along the canal of the Marne, is now near the exit of the motorway leading from Paris to central Germany.

Delacroix 's tomb in the Père Lachaise Cemetery
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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