Romanticism in France

“Romanticism lies neither in the subjects that an artist chooses nor in his exact copying of truth, but in the way he feels…."
                          —Charles Baudelaire

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Romanticism in France
Romanticism in France

In the decades following the French Revolution, this new movement began to flourish in France.

Eugène Delacroix, Murals in the Chapel of The Holy Angels, Saint-Sulpice
Eugène Delacroix, Murals in the Chapel of The Holy Angels, Saint-Sulpice

Delacroix's unusual choice of scenes in these murals bewildered critics for over a century.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, <em>Napoleon on His Imperial Throne</em>
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Napoleon on His Imperial Throne

The eagles have landed in this imperial portrait of Napoleon inspired by antique and early modern sources.

Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, <em>Napoleon Bonaparte Visiting the Pest House in Jaffa</em>
Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, Napoleon Bonaparte Visiting the Pest House in Jaffa

Napoleon masterfully manipulated his image, and this painting meant for Parisian audiences is pure propaganda.

Théodore Géricault, <em>Raft of the Medusa</em>
Théodore Géricault, Raft of the Medusa

Géricault’s massive canvas takes its format from history painting, but its subject is ripped from the headlines.

Eugène Delacroix, <em>Liberty Leading the People</em>
Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People

Bare-breasted with a bayonet? Liberty leads a revolution that won’t be televised but will be seen in the Paris Salon.

Eugène Delacroix, <em>Scene of the Massacre at Chios</em>
Eugène Delacroix, Scene of the Massacre at Chios

Delacroix’s scene of Greek survivors is anything but heroic and offers no relief to the suffering depicted.

Eugène Delacroix, <em>The Death of Sardanapalus</em>
Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus

Delacroix paints an anti-hero who presides over a chaotic, violent scene of corruption and luxury.

Between Neoclassicism and Romanticism: Ingres, <em>La Grande Odalisque</em>
Between Neoclassicism and Romanticism: Ingres, La Grande Odalisque

How did the French imagine the exotic? Here, Ingres trades a classical Venus for a nude in a harem.

François Rude, <em>La Marseillaise</em>
François Rude, La Marseillaise

Royal ambivalence? Rude’s Arc de Triomphe sculpture had a revolutionary message, but the endorsement of the king.

Théodore Géricault, Portraits of the Insane
Théodore Géricault, Portraits of the Insane

Géricault makes the inner suffering of his sitters visible, but what inspired this unusual subject matter?

Painting colonial culture: Ingres’s <em>La Grande Odalisque</em>
Painting colonial culture: Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque

Ingres never visited a harem, but he let his imagination run wild in this sensual colonial fantasy.

Selected Contributors