Eugene Delacroix1798 - 1863
Born: April 26, 1798, Charenton-Sainte-Maurice, France
Died: August 13, 1863, Paris, France
Eugene Delacroix was once described by his contemporary, Charles Baudelaire (1821-1876), as the ultimate romantic artist, a volcanic crater artistically concealed behind bouquets of flowers. As a leader of the Romantic Movement, distinguished by a love of nostalgia, mystery and drama, Delacroix expressed his social conscience in paintings that convey a deep concern for personal and political liberty. His first works to be accepted by the annual Paris Salon in 1822 and in 1824 were violent depictions of slaughter and doomed souls. The director of the Academy at that time suggested that Delacroix tone down the violent images in order to please the Academy. Because of his reluctance to dilute his compositions, Delacroix fell out of favor with the Academy. Ironically, during that time, he won countless commissions to decorate palatial buildings in Paris. He was awarded the Légion dé honneur in 1831. In 1832, Delacroix was invited to join a diplomatic party traveling to Morocco via Spain and Algeria for a five-month journey. The intensely different color and light combined with the fascinating culture of northern Africa provided fresh and exotic subjects for his work. In those five months, he gathered extensive information and subjects from which he often drew for the remainder of his life. In 1857, Delacroix was elected to the Institute, also known as the Académie des Beaux-Arts, in Paris.