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Log inSign up. Art. Understanding Eugène Delacroix through 5 of His Most Provocative Artworks. Alexxa Gotthardt. Sep 10, pm. French. Romantic .
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A new exhibition at the Met features nearly 150 of Delacroix’s paintings, drawings and prints

His formative years between and ; his exploration of historical themes, rendered on large murals, between and ; and his interest in nature and memory, which informed his later works until his death in Across these divisions, common themes emerge. The work shows Sardanapalus reclining on a bed, surrounded by a cacophony of carnage as members of his household—concubines, pageboys, horses—are put to death. In the image, a dapper Delacroix stares confidently at the viewer, his pale skin shining against a dark, dramatic background.

en - Musée Delacroix

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Learning to Speak Latino. When he was born, his father, Charles Delacroix, held an important position as Minister of Foreign Affairs and then as ambassador to Holland. The Delacroix family served the Revolution and the Empire that followed it.

Delacroix, the Visionary Romantic Artist, Gets First Major North American Retrospective

Delacroix had a loving but fragile childhood, for he was often sickly as a boy. He was of a studious nature, and had already acquired a taste for drawing and reading. The death of his mother in left him feeling lost and alone, despite the presence of his older siblings, Charles and Henriette. It was one of the biggest studios in Paris at the time, frequented by many artists.

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The artwork immediately caught the attention of critics. He quickly incarnated a new generation of artists qualified as Romantic, a term inspired by literature.

Like them, he also had deep knowledge of the art of the Old Masters. In , Delacroix exhibited several other paintings, including the masterful Death of Sardanapalus Louvre. While the painting was praised by Victor Hugo and Dumas, critics were shocked by its whirling composition, primacy of color, and violent tones.

Eugène Delacroix

Delacroix emerged, definitively, as a remarkable painter, whose style broke with the customs and academic rules of the time. Photo by Franck Raux. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sep 10, 5: Ultimately, he transformed the pictorial tradition through his deep sensitivity to light, his radiant palette, and his unconventional—as well as brutally raw—treatment of classical and historical subjects.


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  • Delacroix credited these innovations to a lively imagination: Photo via Wikimedia Commons. It was the latter who tapped the young artist to pose for his controversial masterwork The Raft of the Medusa , in the process teaching Delacroix about the shock value of contentious subject matter and stylistic risks.

    By , at the age of 24, Delacroix was ready to make his own statement. The artist threw himself passionately into the project, spending as many as 13 hours a day in the studio. As he worked, a garish, emotional scene took over the canvas, which illustrates the canto in which Dante and Virgil cross the River Styx into Hell.