Exhibition: Delacroix (1798-1863)


Fig.1 Eugène Delacroix, July 28, 1830: Liberty Leading the People. 1830. 1831 Salon. Oil on canvas. 260 x 325 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / Michel Urtado

Currently on display at the Louvre is an exhibition of many major works by Eugène Delacroix, a painter who has been greatly influential to future generations. Much of his body of work comes from the collection of the Louvre. This is the first retrospective since the 1963 Paris exhibition (the centenary year of his death), and it features over 180 works, from his early Salon paintings, to the paintings of his final years.

The Romanticist

Three of Delacroix’s representative works come into view in an exhibition space with low lighting. The Barque of Dante, first exhibited in the Salon in 1822, The Massacre at Chios, which depicted a contemporary issue and was the centre of much heated debate, and the masterpiece Liberty leading the people (fig.1), symbolizing the French Revolution. Delacroix would incorporate contemporary incidents in his work, condemn social contradiction, and boldly make space for the individual emotions such as melancholy, anxiety, shock, and anguish, which had often remained suppressed. As flagbearer of Romanticism, he opposed Neoclassicalism based on the Greek-Roman era.

His work

Delacroix was well-versed in literature, and created many paintings inspired by all sorts of literary works, including mythological texts and the Bible. His works, the earlier works in particular, were, as demonstrated by his many sketches on display at this exhibition as well as by research done on his works, always produced with meticulous care and calculation. Their wide range of subjects and genres includes contemporary affairs; Orientalism, which Delacroix produced much of after traveling to Morocco as a member of a government mission; still lives; landscape paintings; and animal paintings. The exhibition “Delacroix (1798-1863)” is an excellent opportunity to get to know the painter Delacroix, whose influence on modern artistic expression was immense.

The exhibition “Delacroix (1798-1863)” is on display until July 23rd 2018.

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