Delacroix – Romanticism
Eugène Delacroix was a wild Romantic – and a calculating artist. He revelled in fantasy, indolence, fanaticism, savagery. He hated vulgarity and sentimentality, never mind that these were precisely the qualities his critics saw in his paintings. He insisted that passion should always be moderated by reason.
Delacroix came out of the academic tradition. He achieved his revolution largely through color. He had a complexity and a blend of radicalism and conservatism that is almost characteristic of great 19th-century French painters.
In the small, magisterial portrait of Paganini, the play of brushstrokes and light and the swing of the violinist’s enraptured body transform paint into visual sound. Delacroix‘s 1838 portrait of George Sand, which remained in his studio until his death in 1863, rocks back and forth with the heavy, tender and delicate rhythms of a lullaby or poem.
Delacroix‘s paintings changed the art world forever and his technique had a lasting impact on the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. His Liberty Leading the People is the great revolutionary icon.