The painting, Liberty Leading the People by Delacroix, represents the strength of human strife against monarchy and gives the viewer a sense of independence and break from national government. The libertarian feeling and anti- monarchy theme within the painting is illustrated through the following revolutionary characters featured in the painting: the free African American, the youth, the artist himself, and the bare breasted Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty (who inhabits the center focus of the painting) majestically holds the French flag against a background of war, this image gives the viewer a sense of hope a midst a revolution. Furthermore the painting also includes a freed African American male which is used to foreshadow the change in social hierarchy in post revolutionary France. Finally, the artist painted himself into the painting, armed with a gun. By painting this image into the painting the artist is communicating his sympathy and connection to the French Revolution; however, these are just a few controversial illustrations within the paint. Art critics from the early 19th century where most offended by the unflattering portrayal of Lady Liberty, and less concerned with the depiction of freed slaves or revolutionary youths. After witnessing the painting, Liberty Leading the People was rejected from salons throughout Paris.
Modernist theory notes that “as is music, so is modern art,” therefore I have included a sample of music from the early 19th century. The composition, Giselle 1844, was created by composer Adolphe Adam and is known for being his most famous composition.
Liberty Leading the People
Luncheon on the Grass