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Romanticism & Eugene Delacroix: Also A Look At The Death Of Sardanapalus And Liberty Leading The People

1138 words - 5 pages

INTRODUCTIONMany historical events occurred between 1790 and 1850. Victoria was crowned the Queen of England, Charles Darwin began the Beagle voyage, Slavery came to an end in the British Empire, the French army occupied Spain under Napoleon's command, the steamboat was invented, and Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx issued the Communist Manifesto. Today, this period of history is known as Romanticism.This was a time when historical styles were being rediscovered in architecture, which was greatly influenced by both Gothic architecture and the exotic architecture of the Far East. The Gothic revival brought with it an interest in early English literature, which influenced many ...view middle of the document...

Eugène was educated by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin in the neoclassical style of Jacques-Louis David. It was in Guérin's studio that he met Romantic painter Théodore Géricault, who alongside Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, had a significant influence on Delacroix. When Eugène was sixteen, his mother passed away, leaving him an orphan. In 1816, two years after his mother died, he entered l'Ecole des Beaux-Art.The Death of Sardanapalus was exhibited in the 1827 Salon, showing Delacroix's taste for violence. In this painting, as well as others, he tried to capture the essence rather than the reality of the events themselves. This painting was based on one of British poet Lord Byron's tragic poems about Assyrian king Sardanapalus who, facing defeat, ordered his servants to destroy all of his prized possessions (including his concubines) before killing himself. The massacre in the painting was depicted in a much different light than in Byron's poem. Delacroix amplified the drama by illustrating the destruction in an orgiastic light and creating a much more crowded setting. He captured the intense emotion and drama during the slaying of the mistresses. In the painting, Sardanapalus observes the surrounding chaos calmly from his funeral pyre. The unresolved tension portrayed in The Death of Sardanapalus is a distinguishable trait of Eugène's work. Obsessed with human mortality, he portrayed the brutality of the murders in great detail. He used rich colors, intense contrast between light and dark, and broad brushstrokes, which are all characteristics of Romanticism.In 1830, Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People was introduced and became one of his most influential pieces. It was painted in remembrance of the revolution of July 28, 1930, when the people dethroned the Bourbon king Charles X and brought Louis-Philippe to the throne. Once again, in this painting, he tried to capture the essence of the July Revolution rather than the reality of the event itself. Liberty is depicted as a bare-breasted woman raising the tricolor in one hand and holding a gun in the other. Pyramidal composition makes her the emphasis of the painting. The red, white, and blue of the French flag appear throughout the mostly brown toned and black painting, and the...

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