Born: 26 April 1798; Charenton (Saint-Maurice, Val-de-Marne), Île-de-France, France
Died: 13 August 1863; Paris, France
Field: painting, lithography
Art Movement: Romanticism
Considered the leader of the French Romantic school of painting, Eugene Delacroix was a prolific artist, producing over 9,000 works during his lifetime, ranging from paintings, to watercolors, pastels and drawings. His work both shaped the Impressionist artists and inspired the Symbolist movement. Taking inspiration from Peter Paul Rubens and the Venetian Renaissance painters, his painting style emphasized colors and movement rather than the carefully modeled form and clear outline. After completing his education in art, he submitted his first work the Paris Salon The Barque of the Dante, which was accepted, in 1822. This first piece caused a sensation and was harshly criticized, but it was nonetheless bough by the State for the Luxembourg Galleries. This began a pattern of his critical reception throughout his career. First, his work was criticized, but later accepted and purchased by the state or personal patron.
His works revolved around many themes, many of which were inspired by the works of Shakespeare, Goethe, and Byron, and entailed the motifs of violence and sensuality. Perhaps his most widely know piece is Liberty Leading the Republic, which invoked the image of liberty leading the people. The French government initially bough the painting, but soon deemed it too anti-establishment, and had it withdrawn from view. In 1832, he traveled to Morocco to escape Paris society, and experience a more primitive culture. His time there inspired over 100 paintings, and he compared the people there to the early citizens of Rome or Greece.