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Eugène Delacroix

April 26, 1798 - August 13, 1863


Eugène Delacroix was a French artist who established his career as the leader of the French Romantic movement. Born in Paris, he studied Jacques-Louis David and Peter Paul Rubens in art school after losing his parents. After drawing inspiration from these artists, he created large scenic paintings that gained recognition and attention from the Paris Salons. Yet, in his early years, he caused controversy for his visceral scenes of suffering and emotion not common in neoclassical works at the time. After a trip to England in 1825, Delacroix’s Romantic tendencies were fully realized. His most influential work, “Liberty Leading the People”, came from his newfound emotionalism and opinions on the revolutionary activity in France at the time. He also traveled to North Africa, where he depicted life under French colonial rule in what some have criticized as “orientalism,” an artistic trend in which European artists tried to depict non-Western cultures. Later in life, he would mentor and support France’s next wave of Romantic painters in the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He continued to depict Middle Eastern subjects until his death in 1863.

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