Monday 15 April 2024

Eugène Delacroix - part 1

1850s-60s Studio portrait of Eugène Delacroix
albumen silver print

Poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire described his hero Eugène Delacroix as "a volcanic crater artistically concealed beneath bouquets of flowers." Beneath the surface of Delacroix's polished elegance and charm roiled turbulent interior emotions. In 1822 Delacroix took the Salon by storm. Although the French artistic establishment considered him a wild man and a rebel, the French government, bought his paintings and commissioned murals throughout Paris. Though Delacroix aimed to balance classicism and Romanticism, his art centred on a revolutionary idea born with the Romantics: that art should be created out of sincerity, that it should express the artist's true feelings and convictions. Educated firmly in the classics, Delacroix often depicted mythological subjects, themes encouraged by the reigning Neoclassical artists at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. But Delacroix's brilliant colors and passionate brushwork frightened them; their watchwords were "noble simplicity and calm grandeur." They barred him from academy membership until 1857, and even then he was prohibited from teaching in the École des Beaux-Arts. For those very reasons, he was an inspiration to the Impressionists and other young artists. Paul Cézanne once said, "We are all in Delacroix." Intensely private, Delacroix kept a journal that is renowned as a profoundly moving record of the artistic experience.

This is part 1 of of a 6-part series on the works of Eugène Delacroix:

1816 Standing Academic Male Nude
black chalk and charcoal with stumping, heightened with white chalk on dark tan laid paper 59 x 45 cm
 Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1818 Theatrical Troupe on the Road
pen and brown ink, watercolour, over graphite 27.1 x 44.2 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1820 The Consultation
lithograph in black on paper 19.2 x 24.7 cm (image)
The British Museum, London

1820-21 The Figure of Religion
pen and brush with iron gall ink 17.4 x 21.3 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

c1820-23 or c1849 Allegorical Figure of Envy
charcoal and graphite on tan wove paper 48.3 x 41.3 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

c1820 A Horse Hitched to a Post
oil on canvas 19.4 x 21.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

1820s or early1830s Horse and rider Attacked by a lion
graphite pencil and brown wash 22 x 29.6 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

1821 A Literary Fellow Meditating
lithograph; second state of three 21 x 18 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1821 Le Grand Opéra
lithograph 27.5 x 21.8 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Yor

1821 Weislingen Held Prisoner by Goetz
lithograph in black on off-white China paper 28 x 20.8 cm (image)

1821 Théâtre Italien
 lithograph on aper 25.6 x 18.6 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1821 Polemical Duel between Lady Quotidienne and Sir Journal de Paris
lithograph 22.8 x 31.5 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1821 Monk at Prayer
graphite on thin, smooth, beige wove paper 9.5 x 16.9 cm
The Walters Museum, Baltimore, MD

c1821-22 Study of a naked man aka The Pole
oil on paper laid down on canvas 80 x 54 cm
Musée National Eugène Delacroix
©RMN-grand Palais, Louvre Museum, Paris

1822 Crayfish in Longchamps
 lithograph on paper 21.5 x 30.8 cm

1822 Gare Derrière!!!!
illustration from the publication Le Miroir
lithograph on paper 23.8 x 30.8 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

1822 Leçon de Voltiges (Aerobatic Lesson)
lithograph on wove paper 20.6 x 29.8 cm (image)

1822 The Board of Censors Moves Out
lithograph on paper 25.4 x 34.4 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1822 The Barque of Dante

The Barque of Dante, also Dante and Virgil in Hell, is the first major painting by the Delacroix, and is a work signalling the shift in the character of narrative painting, from Neo-Classicism towards Romanticism. The painting loosely depicts events narrated in canto eight of Dante’s “Inferno”; a leaden, smoky mist and the blazing City of the Dead form the backdrop against which the poet Dante fearfully endures his crossing of the River Styx. As his barque ploughs through waters heaving with tormented souls, Dante is steadied by Virgil, the learned poet of Classical antiquity.

1822 The Barque of Dante
oil on canvas 189 x 246 cm
Louvre, Paris

1823 Rebecca and the Wounded Ivanhoe 

The Met note: This was Delacroix’s first treatment of a subject drawn from Sir Walter Scott’s popular novels of medieval chivalry. The eponymous hero of Ivanhoe (1819), straining to leave his sickbed, listens to the terrified Rebecca as she describes a battle raging outside the window. Rather than show the battle itself, Delacroix sought to stimulate the viewer’s imagination by evoking violence through the gestures of the characters reacting to it. The fastidious execution of Rebecca’s extended hand stands in contrast to the jumble of strokes immediately surrounding it and to its left, which suggest the frenzy she witnesses.

1823 Rebecca and the Wounded Ivanhoe
oil on canvas 64.5 x 53.7 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1823-24 and 1835 The Natchez

The Met note: In 1823, Delacroix began to paint this scene from Chateaubriand’s widely read Romantic novel Atala, which narrates the fate of the Natchez people following attacks by French forces in the 1730s. After putting the canvas aside for about a decade, he finally completed the picture for the Paris Salon of 1835. In the catalogue, Delacroix provided this explanatory note: "Fleeing the massacre of their tribe, two young savages traveled up the Mississippi River. During the voyage, the woman was taken by pain of labor. The moment is that when the father holds the newborn in his hands, and both regard him tenderly.”

1823-24 and 1835 The Natchez
oil on canvas 90.2 x 116.8 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1823-24 The Agony in the Garden

The Met note: Delacroix’s first official religious commission was a painting for the church of Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis in Paris. This study establishes the basic composition: Christ props himself up against a rock, bows his head, and raises his hand to acknowledge acceptance of his fate, announced by the mourning angels in the upper right. Delacroix’s use of wash, with its emphasis on tone, establishes the symbolic importance of light in the picture; it radiates from the angels and Christ himself amid the darkness of the garden.

1823-24 The Agony in the Garden
brush and brown wash over graphite 13.4 x 19.4 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

c1823-24 Two Studies of a Standing Indian from Calcutta
oil on canvas 36.8 x 45.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

c1823-24 Two Studies of an Indian from Calcutta, Seated and Standing
oil on canvas 37.5 x 45.7 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

1824 The Fireplace
watercolour over graphite with traces of crayon on off-white laid paper 18.4 x 24.8 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA

1824 Turk Mounting his Horse
aquatint on paper 21.8 x 26.4 cm (image)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1824-26 The Giaour on Horseback 

This dynamic study of a Venetian warrior (the Giaour) furiously racing after his beloved's killer, Hassan, was inspired by Byron's poem "The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale," first published in 1813. Fascinated by this romance of passion and violence, Delacroix repeatedly portrayed the fatal combat between the Muslim master of the harem girl Leila and her avenging lover.

1824-26 The Giaour on Horseback
pen and iron gall ink with wash over graphite 20.1 x 30.5 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1824-27 Christ in the Garden of Olives
watercolour over pencil on brown paper 21.2 x 28.6 cm (sheet)

1824-29 Carnivorous Lion
pencil and watercolour on paper 18 x 24.3 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

c1824 Military Hospital
pen and brush and iron gall ink, brush and brown wash, and graphite, on ivory wove paper 22.7 x 25.9 cm
 Art Institute of Chicago, IL

c1824 The Death of Lara
watercolour with some body-colour and some under-drawing in graphite 17.9 x 25.7 cm
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

1825 Macbeth Consulting the Witches
lithograph on paper 31.9 x 25.1 cm (image)

1825 Prancing Pegasus (attributed to Delacroix)
pencil on paper 11 cm diameter
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1825 Studies of Armour 
lead on paper 19.1 x 27.9 cm
The Meyrick Collection, The Wallace Collection, London

1825 Study after one of Goya's Caprices, two medieval binding boards and an oriental jacket
oil on canvas 50 x x 61 cm
Musée National Eugène Delacroix
©RMN-grand Palais, Louvre Museum, Paris

1825-26 The Execution of the Doge Marino Faliero

Painted in 1825–1826, a period when Delacroix briefly shared his studio with Bonington, whose influence this painting reveals. It was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1827. The subject is taken from Byron’s 'Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice' (1820), V, iv. Faliero (1274–1355) was elected Doge in 1354 but was executed in the following year after conspiring against the Venetian state. The setting recalls (but does not represent) the Giant’s Staircase of the Doge’s Palace (built 1485–1489), and the costumes, some of the heads of the dignitaries and the rich colouring are derived from Venetian Renaissance painting. The picture was a favourite of Delacroix himself.

1825-26 The Execution of the Doge Marino Faliero
oil on canvas 145.6 x 113.8 cm
The Wallace Collection, London

c1825-26 The Duke of Orleans showing his Lover
oil on canvas 35 x 25.5 cm
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

1825-30 The Dying Turk
transparent and opaque watercolour over graphite pencil
19.6 x 24.3 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

c1825-40 The confession of the Giaour
oil on canvas 23.8 x 32.2 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

c1825 Odalisque Reclining on a Divan
oil on canvas 38 x 46.7 cm
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

1826 Baron Schwiter (at age 21)
lithograph on white wove paper 25,4 x 22.9 cm

1826 Sheet of Sketches
lithograph in black on white wove paper 25.5 x 40.5 cm (sheet)
Clarence Buckingham Collection
Art Institute of Chicago, IL

1826 The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan
oil on canvas 59.6 x 73.4 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, I

1826 The Smuggler's Flight
lithograph in black on white laid paper 10.2 x 15.7 cm (image)

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