Delacroix, is there life after”Freedom Guiding the People”? (The Louvre)
Never has a work been so recovered, diverted, plagiarized, while Delacroix’s career and production is not limited to this national emblem, certainly spectacular. This is what the Louvre demonstrates, which in partnership with the Metropolitan of New York gathers some 180 exceptional works completed by loans from all over the world.
“I don’t like reasonable painting” Delacroix
At the age of 24, Eugène Delacoix was consecrated with”La Barque de Dante” presented at the Salon de 1822, but he broke away from the dominant scenes of history and turned his attention to current affairs. This first break which will not be the only one, marks his quest for originality and”Scene of massacre” influenced by the Raft of the jellyfish of his friend Géricault sounds the death knell of the classical Greek aesthetics such as Gros and David practiced it.W
ith the”Death of Sardanapale” is the scandal as if this allegory of the end of Charles X’s reign announces the chaos to come: bombardment of Algiers, the beginning of colonization and the new French revolution in 1830 with the episode of barricades immortalized by this woman with naked breasts of a sensuality which badly fits with the taste of the time.
Louis Philippe buys it though and the artist receives the Legion of Honour at 32!
It is then that opens the most decisive period of its course, the trip to Morocco under cover of a diplomatic mission with the Count of Mornay. The East is with the mode since the Turqueries of the XVIIIth century and the campaign of Napoleon, Delacroix is taken as often by opposite feelings, the excitation of the novelty and the fear of the voyage. When he arrived in Tangier, he was totally subjugated and taken by frenzy in front of these teeming scenes that he sketched in his notebooks of drawings and impressions.
The costumes, the light, the interiors, the women, the riders, converge in sensations that he sublimates and will keep long after his return to France.
The episode of Morocco will be foundational in its practice and memorization process.”The Jewish wedding” is a synthesis of this fantasized vision of the East, followed by”Women of Algiers” painted on her return.
He’s almost doing an ethnologist’s job, sometimes adding an accessory from a Parisian antique dealer!
If criticism is not receptive to such an abundance of energy and color, many will recognize themselves in this spiritual master such as Fantin Latour, followed by Manet who with the Odalisque takes up the theme of the women of the harem or Matisse.P
aradoxical personality, Delacroix whose diary started at the age of 24, is a precious testimony, oscillates between audacity of the moment and nostalgia of the past, asceticism at the end of his life and taste for power at the beginning.
In connection with the retrospective presented at the Louvre Museum, the Delacroix Museum devotes an exhibition to the recently restored paintings of the artist from Saint-Sulpice Church, notably La Lutte de Jacob and L’Ange,
commissioned in 1849 from Eugène Delacroix, this monumental, rich and sublime work occupies it until 1861 and can be considered as his spiritual testament.
Catalogue of the exhibition Delacroix, under the direction of Sébastien Allard and Côme Fabre.
Coedition musée du Louvre éditions / Hazan. 480 pages, 280 illustrations, 45 €.
Cycle of conferences.
Practical information :
Delacroix (1798-1863) until July 23, 2018
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