Top: "Liberty leading the People"
Bottom: "Liberty leading the People" (detail)
oil on canvas, 260 x 325 cm. - Paris, Louvre.
Eugène Delacroix is the French romantic painter par excellence and one of the most important names in the European painting in the first half of the 19th century. Although his sources of inspiration are clearly baroque, Delacroix evolved his Art to an audacious Romantic style that was admired by many impressionist painter decades later.
“Liberty leading the People” is a work filled with symbolism. The Liberty, a feminine figure with nude breasts holding a French flag and wearing a Phrygian cap, leads the people, standing over a group of dead soldiers. Among the crowd we can identify famous personages, such as Gavroche or Fréderic Villot, curator at the Louvre and a close friend of Delacroix. Technically, it is also an extraordinary work, in which an earlier romantic masterpiece -Gericault's impressive “The Raft of the Medusa”- is present in the composition, which is finished with Delacroix's fast and agile brushstroke. Immediately associated with the French Revolution, “Liberty leading the People” demonstrates the capacity of Painting to become the symbol of an era.
Text by G. Fernández, www.theartwolf.com