Eugene Delacroix is a talented graphic artist and outstanding artist of the 19th century, the author of one of the most recognizable paintings in the history of art. Eugene Delacroix is known as the founder of European romanticism, who tried himself in orientalism and landscape genre. What was he like, the creator of Liberty Leading the People, who abandoned the canons of academicism and became the idol of French painters?
Biography of Eugene Delacroix
Eugene Delacroix was born on April 26, 1798 in one of the suburbs of the capital in a large family of a prominent politician. The boy received a decent education – first he studied at the Lyceum of Louis the Great in Paris, then moved to the Lyceum of Rouen Pierre Corneille. From an early age, he showed interest and extraordinary abilities in literature, and experienced a passion for painting after joint trips to Normandy with his uncle, an artist.
Eugene Delacroix lost his parents at the age of 16. And the young man, who had to independently look for means of life, made a choice that determined his entire future fate. So in 1815, Eugene went to work for Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, a master of classical portraiture. After another year, the young man passed the exams at the School of Fine Arts and began to study the technique of drawing.
Particularly influenced by the formation of Delacroix had frequent trips to the Louvre, where Eugene learned the works of old masters – Peter Rubens (Rubens), Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) and Paolo Veronese (Paolo Veronese). At the same time, he met Théodore Géricault, whose friendship became a landmark. Eugene Delacroix experienced the strongest emotions after the creation of the famous “Raft of the Medusa” by Géricault, realizing that in art it is possible and necessary to create in a new way, breaking stereotypes and abandoning traditionalism.
Delacroix wrote his first serious work in 1822.
He exhibited it at the Salon and sold it for 2,000 francs. It was Dante’s Boat (currently in the Louvre). A real sensation was made by the following picture of the artist, in which he depicted a fragment from the Greek War of Independence. Delacroix and his “Massacre on Chios” were criticized for their excessive naturalism and their desire to convey the full depth of human suffering.
But the real shock for the pampered Parisians was the “Death of Sardanapalus” with the image of a naked woman in the foreground, shocking for most viewers. A beautiful girl fights the killer and clings to life with all her might, despite the fact that her fate is already sealed – in a second the knife will cut her throat. This time, Eugene Delacroix was called an erotomaniac and a sadist who portrayed lust and murder, but the main goal of the artist was achieved – he attracted everyone’s attention to himself. And he chose the path of a freedom fighter, at least in art.
The rebellious spirit of the painter was clearly manifested in the famous “Liberty Leading the People”, which he dedicated to the revolution of 1830. And in the same picture one can observe the rebirth of the painter into a romantic. Freedom is presented in the image of a young and beautiful woman, stepping over the bodies of dead people and leading the people to something unknown, new and beautiful.
And then Eugene Delacroix went to Morocco and returned from there as a completely different artist, who made an invaluable contribution to the development of Orientalism. He completely immersed himself in Africa with its mysterious world, unusual way of life and interesting traditions. I made hundreds of sketches, which I worked with even after 15-20 years. Upon returning to his homeland, the artist became more recognizable, and his financial situation improved. He was invited to work in the royal palaces – to paint the Bourbon, decorate the Luxembourg, decorate the ceilings in the Louvre.
The personal life of Eugene Delacroix did not work out. He had connections with women (Juellette de Lavalette, Marie-Elisabeth Blavot-Boulanger), but he never officially married. Art historians suggest that the artist avoided marriage because of his dislike for children, whom he considered the embodiment of noise and dirty hands.
Eugene Delacroix died of a sore throat after a long and tedious work on frescoes for the Parisian church of Saint-Sulpice. The heart of one of the brightest and most famous Frenchmen stopped beating on August 13, 1863.