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Eugene Delacroix: Painting Romantic Realism


Every painting is a visual replica of the mental image an artist visualizes in his or her mind. At that stage of imagination, that mental image can be incomplete, not in an ordered fashion, or even not fully communicating. The artist gives a definite form to it. What an artist desires can be summed just I one word: expression. Yes, when an artist stands before a blank canvass with a bunch of brushes and the blobs of colours on palate, he or she desire to express the very thing that is pleasant to see, and perhaps which is stirring the artist to let it come out.

Orphan on the Cemetery

French romanticism artist Eugene Delacroix had done the same. He had allowed coming out all the passions he had and expressed it on canvases. Though Delacroix was a romantic French painter, and weighed the passion much for the depiction of art, he tried painting as realistically as possible. The painting Orphan on the Cemetery, he had not spared any effort to be realistic.


Expression of passion does not mean to show the violent gestures on faces while doing figurative painting or the bold brush-strokes used with pure colours in landscape painting. On a canvas, the treatment of the space covered by subsidiary figures and proportions of every article contribute to make a painting depicting the beauty of art. Look at Delacroix’s painting Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi given here. It is an allegory of the defeat of Greece against turkey in the year 1826.

Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi


Symbolism in Art: Every figure in this painting has one or another symbol. Here the lady with almost no clothes to hide her modesty of chest, and shown as kneeling, is the symbol of surrender. Other things painted within the frames are the ruins of the city buildings and the hand of the shoulders cut in the war. These all contribute to the meaning of the tale to be told and enhance the strength of communication the artist wants to make.

In the paintings of a master artist like Delacroix we would not find even a tiny spot of colour without a purpose. It is because if any irrelevant detail is shown on the frame, the attention of spectators would be diverted to it, making it difficult fort hem to conceive the importance of that part. In the above painting, we can see a red-turbaned man. He is symbol of the new power the Turkish army that had defeated the Greece. so in a masterpiece, everything has its meaning, a definite role.

The harmony of colours and also their conflicting effects sometimes, would impress upon the minds of the viewers. And artist’s work is to appeal to the heart of the viewers, too. The infusion of the sensation of the moments on the face of the characters painted would create a lasting effects on the part of the art lovers and viewers. In above paintings Delacroix has succeeded in all of his objectives as an artists. [Images courtesy Eugène Delacroix [Public domain], Wikimedia Commons, Eugène Delacroix [Public domain], Wikimedia Commons]
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