Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People (c. 1830)

Never has an image been so widely associated with a conflict, then this image showing the July Revolution. While many envision this painting when thinking about the French Revolution, their revolution was not as singular as the American one. There were quite a few changing of the keys and this painting was made to honor one of the later revolutions. There were so many that revolting seemed to be the french version of baseball: their national past-time. Fortunately, the government of France has gotten more and more stable over the years. Their last attempted revolution was in 1968, and involved almost a quarter of the french population. The main character of the painting caused a stir with the aristocrats at the Salon of May 1830. Despite the fact that "Liberty" is more or less topless and there is a heavily armed twelve year old next to her, the reason for their outrage was the fact that she showing her unkempt under arm hair. Despite the fact that this was before women shaved there, and I don't really see any other dramatic way of holding a flag. The painting was so offensive that the royal family wouldn't pay for it, and the minister of the interior had to give a relatively small fee of three thousand francs and a medal. Yeah, they gave him a medal and told him to leave.  Liberty is another example of a reoccurring use of the image of a woman leading a group to represent france. The women is commonly known as Marianna. Meaning that Liberty is really named Marianne. Despite this trend, like the United States, France has never had a female president. Delacroix is show in the painting holding a rifle and wearing a classy top hat. It is to be known that he did not actually participate in the revolution. He wrote to his brother that "if i haven't fought for my country at least I'll paint for her". This is a painting of a barricade that had to be constructed during the rebellion. Several revolutionaries had fallen during the fight. With the revolution being less than a year before this bad boy was made, the viewers would have been able to connect with the fighters. Got to say that this work is just shear amazing and I invite everyone to go see it at the Louvre if you are find yourself in Paris, France.

Biography of Eugène Delacroixène-delacroix-40979

More information on Marianne

An analysis of the revolutions of the time

The Louvre Museum's website's account of the painting


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