Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863), was one of the pre-eminent painters of 19th century France. Delacroix’s dynamic draftsmanship and impressionistic use of color led the way to Impressionism and modern art.
He portrayed subjects fraught with extreme emotion, dramatic conflicts and violence, drawn from history, literature, and music, which he rendered in bold colors and expressive brushstrokes.
His most famous painting, “Liberty Leading the People,” is a response to the July Revolution of 1830, in which a woman holding a French flag leads a band of fighters from all social classes.
In 1832 Delacroix took a journey to Spain and North Africa in search of a more primitive culture. This interest in the exotic subjects and faraway lands, he depicted in more than 100 drawings and paintings which often emphasized movement. He also painted scenes borrowed from the work of his favorite authors, including Lord Byron, Goethe, and Shakespeare, and was commissioned to paint several rooms at the Palais Bourbon and the Palace of Versailles.
Delacroix eventually moved to the countryside outside Paris where he enjoyed friendships with well-known cultural figures such as the composer Frédéric Chopin and the author George Sand. In 1862, he became a part of the creation of the renowned Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Other members of the committee included Puvis de Chavannes and Carrier-Belleuse.