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date: 09 May 2021

Delacroix, (Ferdinand-)Eugène(-Victor) locked

(b Charenton-Saint-Maurice, nr Paris, April 26, 1798; d Paris, Aug 13, 1863).
  • Colin Harrison

Extract

(b Charenton-Saint-Maurice, nr Paris, April 26, 1798; d Paris, Aug 13, 1863).

French painter, draughtsman and lithographer. He was one of the greatest painters of the first half of the 19th century, the last history painter in Europe (see History painting, §II) and the embodiment of Romanticism in the visual arts. At the heart of Delacroix’s career is the paradox between the revolutionary and the conventional: as the arch-enemy of Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique and as the leading figure of the French Romantic movement, he was celebrated for undermining the tradition of painting established by David, Jacques-Louis, yet he nevertheless enjoyed official patronage from the beginning of the Restoration (1814–30) until the Second Empire (1852–70).

Delacroix disliked the 19th century, hated progress, was conservative in his tastes and manners, but—for Baudelaire, at least—was the most modern of artists, resembling the great painters of the First Republic (1792–1804) and the First Empire (1804–14) in his wish to rival the written word. His subjects, like those of David, were serious and historical, but he replaced the Stoic ideal with one equally grand and dramatic, yet lacking any kind of moral or political certainty. Nevertheless, he was the last representative of the ...

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