Eugène, in full FERDINAND- VICTOR-EUGENE DELACROIX (b. April 26, 1798,
Charenton-Saint-Maurice, Fr.--d. Aug. 13, 1863, Paris), the greatest French
Romantic painter, whose use of colour was influential in the development of
both Impressionist and Postimpressionist painters. His inspiration came chiefly
from historical or contemporary events or literature, and a visit to Morocco in
1832 provided him with further exotic subjects.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1994
Delacroix is numbered among the greatest and most influential of French
painters. He is most often classified as an artist of the Romantic school. His
remarkable use of color was later to influence impressionist painters and even
modern artists such as Pablo Picasso.
Delacroix was born on April 26, 1798, in Charenton-St-Maurice, France. In 1815
he became the pupil of the French painter Pierre-Narcisse Guerin and began a
career that would produce more than 850 paintings and great numbers of
drawings, murals, and other works. In 1822 Delacroix submitted his first
picture to the important Paris Salon exhibition: Dante and Virgil in Hell. A technique used in this
work--many unblended colors forming what at a distance looks like a unified
whole--would later be used by the impressionists. His next Salon entry was in
1824: Massacre at Chios.
With great vividness of color and strong emotion it pictured an incident in
which 20,000 Greeks were killed by Turks on the island of Chios. The French
government purchased it for 6,000 francs.
by the techniques of English painters such as John Constable, Delacroix visited
England in 1825. His tours of the galleries, visits to the theater, and
observations of English culture in general made a lasting impression upon him.
1827 and 1832 Delacroix seemed to produce one masterpiece after another. He
again used historical themes in The
Battle of Nancy and The
Battle of Poitiers. The poetry of Lord Byron inspired a painting
for the 1827 Salon, Death of Sardanapalus.
Delacroix also created a set of 17 lithographs to illustrate a French edition
of Goethe's Faust.
French revolution of 1830 inspired the famous Liberty Guiding the People, which was the last of
Delacroix's paintings that truly embodied the romantic ideal. He found new
inspiration on a trip to Morocco in 1832. The ancient, proud, and exotic
culture moved him to write "I am quite overwhelmed by what I have
1833 Delacroix painted a group of murals for the king's chamber at the Palais
Bourbon. He continued doing this type of painting, including panels for the
Louvre and for the Museum of History at Versailles, until 1861. Much of the
architectural painting involved long hours on uncomfortable scaffolding in
drafty buildings, and his health suffered. He died on Aug. 13, 1863, in Paris.
His apartment there was made into a museum in his memory.
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