Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850


Who was Eugene Delacroix?

Eugene Delacroix (1798–1863) was not interested in the defined forms and Classical stoicism promoted by the Academy. This French Romantic painter is known for his use of thick brushstrokes, and sweeping, dramatic scenes inspired by mythology, current events, and his trips to North Africa. Delacroix’s Massacre at Chios (1822–1824), was based on the Greek’s struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire, an event that influenced many Romantic writers and artists. The painting communicates sympathy for the exhausted Greeks by focusing on the details of individual faces. A menacing Turk dominates the scene as his dark horses rears up over the group of victims. Similarly, Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People: July 28,1830 (1830) makes heroes of unlikely revolutionaries who passionately take up arms as their brethren have fallen, ready to overthrow the monarchy. Red, white, and blue— the colors of the French flag—draw attention to the female personification of Liberty, whose bare breast recalls Classic sculpture, as she emerges from the dust and smoke. She holds up the French flag in one hand and a bayonet in the other, leading the revolutionaries into battle. This Romantic painting emphasizes idealism and heroism in its depiction of an important historical event.


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