Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

Self-portrait • 1837
One of the last old Masters of painting,
French Romantic

Eugène Delacroix

was born on 26 April 1798,
at Charenton-Saint-Maurice
in Île-de-France.

He was regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school.
His use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour influenced the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. A fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, Walter Scott and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

In the words of Baudelaire:

“Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.”

Together with Ingres [his chief rival], Delacroix is considered one of the last old Masters of painting, and one of the few who was ever photographed.
His legacy: 9140 works, including 853 paintings, 1525 pastels and water colours, 6629 drawings, 109 lithographs, and over 60 sketch books.

“The more an object is polished or brilliant, the less you see its own color and the more it becomes a mirror reflecting the color of its surroundings.”

Medea about to Kill Her Children, 1838

“I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.”

Mademoiselle Rose, 1817–1824

“A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.”

Horse Frightened by a Storm, watercolour, 1824

“One always has to spoil a picture a little bit in order to finish it.”

Flowers, 1850

“I go to work as others rush to see their mistresses, and when I leave, I take back with me to my solitude, or in the midst of the distractions that I pursue, a charming memory that does not in the least resemble the troubled pleasure of lovers.”

Massacre at Chios, 1824

“The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.

The sea from the heights of Dieppe

“In abandoning the vagueness of the sketch the artist shows more of his personality by revealing the range but also the limitations of his talent.”

The Death of Sardanapalus, 1827

“The source of genius is imagination alone, the refinement of the senses that sees what others do not see, or sees them differently.

The Edge Of A Wood At Nohant

“What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.”

Study for a portrait of Madame Guizot

“One always begins by imitating.”

Shipwreck on the Coast, 1862

“All painting worth its name, unless one is talking about black and white, must include the idea of color as one of its necessary supports, in the same way that it includes chiaroscuro, proportion, and perspective.

George Sand, 1838

“Cold exactitude is not art… The so-called consciousness of the majority of painters is only perfection applied to the art of boring. People like that, if they could, would work with the same minute attention on the back of their canvas.

Basket of Flowers 1848-49

“Remember the enemy of all painting is gray: a painting will almost always appear grayer than it is, on account of its oblique position under the light.”


“One must learn to be grateful for one’s own findings.”

Cliffs near Dieppe, 1855

“Those things which are most real are the illusions I create in my paintings.

Desdemona Cursed by her Father, c.1850–1854

“In abandoning the vagueness of the sketch the artist shows more of his personality by revealing the range but also the limitations of his talent.”

Woman with a Parrot, 1827

“Not only can color, which is under fixed laws, be taught like music, but it is easier to learn than drawing, whose elaborate principles cannot be taught.”

Heliodorus Vanquished from the Temple (detail), completed 1861, mural in the Chapel of the Holy Angels, Church of Saint-Sulpice
Heliodorus Vanquished from the Temple (detail)

“Nature is a dictionary; one draws words from it.”

Landscape at Les Petites-Dalles

A taste for simplicity cannot endure for long.

Le 28 juillet – la liberté guidant le peuple, 1830

“Do all the work you can; that is the whole philosophy of the good way of life.”

Studies of Flayed Leg and Arm Muscles

“A fine suggestion, a sketch with great feeling, can be as expressive as the most finished product.”

Page from Delacroix sketchbook

Delacroix photo

“Nothing can be compared with the emotion caused by music; that it expresses incomparable shades of feeling.”

Chopin portrait by Delacroix

Piano Concerto No2 Op. 21 in F minor

Frédéric Chopin

Piano: Arthur Rubinstein
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by André Previn


Nocturne no. 8 op. 27 no. 2

Frédéric Chopin

Piano: Maurizio Pollini

For more information on Delacroix:





Be Safe 🏡

45 replies »

  1. Thanks Marina. This is an exciting and varied view of some of his work, alongside some of his thought-provoking quotes on technique and inspiration.
    Best – Ford

  2. Thank you, Marina! That was amazing art, music and all!
    So much art has been created, music too, all arts. Thank goodness. Without art, what are we?
    Okay, off to visit the new post.

    • Oh… you’re so right… without art…
      And to think that we keep rediscovering art we already know!
      So happy you enjoyed my Delacroix journey!

  3. I am always delighted in discovering new art I have not seen before Marina… And loved the sketches included here…
    Stay Blessed my friend… Huge hugs your way ❤

  4. Wow! I’m loving this “art series” (for want of a better term). I had never heard of Delacroix and love his style. Great quotes, too. And that Chopin Nocturne No. 8… delish! Perfect for a Sunday

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