Eugène Delacroix (portrait by Nadar
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (April 26, 1798 - August 13, 1863) was an important painter from the French romantic period.
Delacroix was born at Saint-Maurice-en-Chalencon, Ardèche, in the Rhône-Alpes Region of France. He was trained by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin in the neoclassical style of Jacques-Louis David, but was strongly influenced by the more colorful and rich style of the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and fellow French artist Théodore Géricault (1791-1824) whose works marked an introduction to romanticism in art.
Delacroix's developing technique would prove to be an important influence on others. His use of expressive color profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionist movement.
In 1822, his first major painting, The Barque of Dante was accepted by the Paris Salon and two years later he achieved popular success for his Massacre at Chios. Delacroix's most influential work came in 1830 with the painting, Liberty Leading the People. This painting serves to show the difference between the romantic style of painting and the neoclassical style of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. However, the French government bought the painting but officials deemed its glorification of the idea of liberty as too inflammatory and removed it from public view. Nonetheless, Delacroix still received many government commissions for murals and ceiling paintings.
Eugene Delacroix, also illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, and the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He is also well known for his Journals, in which he expressed his views on art as well as a variety of topics.
Liberty Leading the People
In 1832, he traveled to Spain and North Africa, a trip that would influence the subject matter of a great many of his future paintings. Following the Revolution of 1848 that saw the end of the reign of King Louis Philippe, Delacroix's painting, Liberty Leading the People, was finally put on display by the newly elected President, Napoleon III of France. Today, it is visible in the Louvre museum. The boy holding a gun up, on the right is sometimes thought to be an inspiration of the Gavroche character in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables novel.
Throughout his life Delacroix remained the preeminent French romantic painter in the tradition of Michelangelo and Rubens. He painted the famous portrait of the composer Frederic Chopin.
Eugene Delacroix died in Paris, France and was interred there in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.