Eugene Delacroix said, “Strange as it may seem, the great majority of people are devoid of imagination.” (Fiero, pp.358).
Eugene Delacroix knew that it was very important to have an imagination. This imagination led him to many of his paintings and color choices. “Liberty Leading the People” is one of those paintings. Delacroix’s imagination, use of colors, and nature is the heart of Romanticism at its finest.
Eugene Delacroix was born on April 26, 1798, and was painting by the time he was 17. Over his lifespan, he painted more than 850 works, along with drawings, murals, and other paintings. By 1822, his first painting, “Dante and the Virgil in Hell” was submitted to the Paris exhibit. His use of unblended colors would later be a staple used by impressionists. After 1827, Delacroix produced one masterpiece after another. “Liberty Leading the People” would become one of his most famous of paintings, and although it would be his last painting in the romantic era, he would continue to produce other works until 1861.
Romanticism was a time of imagination and creativity. It was a time when emotions ruled what one did, and showed in much of the art, literature, and music of that time. Eugene Delacroix was one of the first artists to bring this era into his paintings using color and emotion to bring them across.
Eugene Delacroix was a person that believed highly in using the imagination in most everything that was done. He was partial to drawings of violence from contemporary life, and medieval and ancient history. When Delacroix visited with Morocco, it had such an influence on his life that it would be the focus of his love of light and color (Fiero, pp.358).
Delacroix’s Use of Color
Eugene Delacroix believed that the use of color gave life to a painting. He thought that without color, it was not a painting, but an illumination. Delacroix used dark colors to bring about violence and realism to many of his paintings. His use of color brought a wide range of emotion and romanticism to his paintings.
Liberty Leading the People
“Liberty Leading the People” is a painting that depicts the Revolution of 1830. This painting was one Delacroix most famous of paintings due to its political meaning. In the painting Delacroix has a woman that portrays Liberty. She leads people over fallen bodies as she holds the flag of the French Revolution in one hand and a bayonet musket in the other. This was a portrayal of the struggle of human freedom (Fiero, pp.358).
“Liberty Leading the People” was how Delacroix envisioned the rebellion that was started by King Charles X. This rebellion was started to take away freedoms, such as voting and freedom of the press. The bare-breasted woman was his vision of Liberty and her charge over any obstacle was to say that liberty was to make it through anything that stood in the way. She was to represent people all social statuses and races.
Eugene Delacroix was a master of imagination, color, and emotion. Through his paintings, he brought romanticism, feelings, and realism to everyone that viewed them. “Liberty Leading the People” was to be no different in the way it brought emotion and political meaning to its viewers. This was to be one his most famous paintings and one of the last in the romantic era.