France • 1798−1863
Ferdinan Victor Eugene Delacroix (fr. Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix; April 26, 1798, Paris - August 13, 1863, Paris) - French artist, who took the place of the brightest representative and founder of the romantic trend in painting in the history of art.

Features of the artist Eugene Delacroix: the artist, whose name is strongly associated with the figure of semi-naked Freedom on the barricades, made one of the most significant revolutions in the history of painting. Delacroix destroyed the strict genre canons adopted in classicism, and began to write scenes from modern life and exotic literary plots in the way that Napoleon and ancient heroes wrote in the Salon. Contrasting with a precise classic picture a rich, passionate palette, Delacroix is the first to send to the Salon paintings painted in separate, visible strokes. The manner of writing pictures and color are involved in creating the mood of the canvas, along with the plot and gestures of the characters.

Famous paintings by Eugene Delacroix: "Freedom leading people", "Death of Sardanapala", "Dante and Virgil in Hell", "Algerian women", "Massacre at Chios".

The workshop is hot, as in a Moroccan harem, the windows are tightly closed, but he asks the housekeeper Jenny to heat even more. Neck tightly wrapped in a scarf. Since he caught a cold in his student days, his throat hurts constantly. Sometimes less, sometimes just unbearable. And then Eugen takes the therapy seriously: do not breathe cold air and do not talk. He closes in a hot workshop and is left alone with his strongest passion - with work. Along the same street, across the road, in the house opposite his workshop, two young men seemed to be rooted to the window. They catch every gesture of Delacroix, they hold their breath and freeze when they manage to see the master's movements. They both dream soon to conquer Paris and get medals at the Salon, they rented this room specifically to at least occasionally see how the brightest and most revolutionary artist of the passing era works. One young man name is Claude Monetsecond Auguste Renoir.

Eugene Delacroix with all his life, the history of his victories and failures, gave hope to young, daring artists. Looking at him, each of them believed that in painting you can find real freedom. He received the Salon's gold medal for the first picture presented to the audience, and for the third - for several years fell into disfavor. He applied 9 times to take a place among academics who decide the fate of French art. He received a ribbon of the Legion of Honor at the age of 33 and was elected to the city council of Paris at 53. And now in the Louvre there is a whole hall dedicated to only one artist, the Delacroix Hall. The artist survived 7 political regimes, which one after another threw France from one extreme to another. But with all the kings and republics, the state immediately bought his new picture.


Eugene was from that French elite who rose up under Napoleon. His father, Charles Delacroix, was Minister of Foreign Affairs during the times of the Directory, and later, when Talleyrand replaced him as minister, he served as ambassador to the Republic of Batavia and the prefect of Marseille.

Talleyrand was a frequent guest in the house of Delacroix, and according to some secret signs and testimonies, biographers found out that he, Talleyrand, was the real father of Eugene, the fourth and youngest child in the family. The sly, manipulator, excommunicated ex-bishop and minister, who successfully survived three changes of power in this post. But Eugène himself never in one diary or letter, not one of his actions, ever revealed this relationship. The man whom Delacroix always called his father was incorruptibly honest, intelligent, sincere, eloquent, and died very early. Eugene was only 7 years old.

Eugene grew up a nervous and emotional child. If you believe his memories of childhood, then the future artist dealt mainly with two things: he survived in endless accidents and pompously, heartfelt told life truths to adults of different importance. In the Imperial Lyceum, where Delacroix enrolled in full-board, in the mornings listened to news of Napoleon's victories, wrote extensive works in Latin and Greek, taught mathematics and drawing, and above all other goods they valued friendship and fame.


If Delacroix's father lived to 1814, he would have been exiled for a lifetime from France, along with everyone who voted for the king’s execution. And without it, the family was only impoverished and lost the remnants of past honor and attention. Delacroix's mother lived only a few months under the revived monarchy and died when Eugene was 15.

Delacroix began living in the elder sister's family and acquired several important skills: to plan his meager finances, to compose and lithograph caricatures for metropolitan weeklies, to stay like a dandy in old pantaloons and at night to sneak unnoticed into the bedroom to the housekeeper. In Paris, he began to study painting in the workshop of Guerin, and at the same time look after his nephew, who was studying nearby. On endless trips from his sister's country house to his Paris apartment, he froze so often and so that the pain in his throat became chronic.

The desperate poverty of the times of the apprenticeship is over for Eugene with the very first picture presented in the Salon of 1822. Despite the colorful attacks of some critics - “Drunk with a broom”, “Rubens’s shreds”,- Delacroix receives the first rave reviews and the first 2 thousand francs. This was more than his annual rent.

July revolution

The revolution of 1830 was perceived by young artists, poets as a chance for renewal and a breakthrough from that whirlpool of tradition in which art, and the whole of France, became more and more connected. Charles X made mistake after mistake, but restricting such freedom of speech desired by the French and liquidating the House of Representatives threw the country very much to the good old monarchy. The revolution lasted for three days and distributed to each according to merit. Disgraced with Carl Eugene Delacroix - inspiration. He writes the legendary now "Freedom leading people"and begins to dream of Africa.

“Your journals, your cholera, your politics - all this, unfortunately, is somewhat moderated by the impatience with which I am waiting for my return. If you only knew how nice it is to live under the cover of tyranny! ” - he wrote this to France, already finishing his sweet, colorful, sultry journey to Morocco and Algeria. All this financial news, all these caustic journalists, debunking heroes and geniuses, all these political adventures and disputes seemed petty and depressing to him. In the next ten years to each exhibition in the Salon he will submit at least one Moroccan work, the memories will fade, the faces of Algerian beauties will be forgotten, but there will be a captivating, clear, rich palette, once and forever acquired color and light.

He will return from the East and go on his longest and most passionate virtual journey - for 20 years without a break and rest he will retire to the forests under the ceilings of huge halls: royal palaces, libraries, state chambers to cover them with frescos. Meticulous art critics considered that in the XIX century no artist painted more walls than Delacroix. He goes down, of course. More than writing and climbing the woods, he only likes talking. If art critics could count friends, they would probably say that Delacroix had more of them than anyone else in the 19th century. He could wander with Musset all night from house to house, not wanting to interrupt an interesting conversation, he and Chopin spent hours discussing the order in music and the order in painting. George Sand, Baudelaire, Thiers, Stendal ... It is easier to count the painted walls.

Second Republic and Napoleon III

When Paris dies again in blood to say goodbye to kings forever, for Eugene Delacroix freedom will look very different: "Freedom, bought at the cost of fierce battles, is not real freedom, which is to wander peacefully wherever one may think, to think, to dine at a certain time once and for all and more things ... ”

During this revolution, Delacroix, an artist recognized by all French governments, will leave Paris. He has a small house in Shemroz, where he, growing grapes, found true freedom. And he knew what he was doing. Art critics have calculated: none of the French painters of all time killed so many works from social upheavals as Eugene Delacroix did.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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