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  • Russ Ramsey

Getting to Know Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

For this Art Wednesday we’ll look at one of the most important French Romantic painters, Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix. It is hard to overstate his influence on the painters of the late 1800’s, particularly those in France.

Delacroix The Good Samaritan, 1849


One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve curated Art Wednesday is that a great deal of the art I cover came between the mid-1800’s and early 1900’s. What an era for art! Many of those artists revered Delacroix like he was Bob Dylan.

Delacroix, Columbus and His Son at La Rábida, 1838


Delacroix is known best for his historical and Biblical scenes. He favored Venetian Renaissance masters like Rubens, which is evident in the drama and motion displayed in his work.

Delacroix, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, 1860


Aside from Biblical and historical scenes, Delacroix also illustrated many works of classic literature—from Shakespeare to Goethe, and he also did his share of portraiture.

Delacroix, Frédéric Chopin, 1838


Though he was a romantic in style, he was not given to sentimentality. One critic said “Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.”

Delacroix, Algerian Women in their Apartment, 1834


Though Delacroix was a private person, he was generous. He invested his later years in building support systems and organizations for artists. He died in 1863 in his home in Paris from a bad throat infection.

Delacroix, The Abduction of Rebecca, 1846


Liberty Leading the People (1830) is his best-known painting. The Delacroix Gallery says “it is an unforgettable image of Parisians, having taken up arms, marching forward under the banner of the tricolor representing liberty and freedom.”

Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830

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