Romanticism & Eugene Delacroix: Also a Look at the Death of Sardanapalus and Liberty Leading the People

Essay by sardiddleCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Many historical events occurred between 1790 and 1850. Victoria was crowned the Queen of England, Charles Darwin began the Beagle voyage, Slavery came to an end in the British Empire, the French army occupied Spain under Napoleon's command, the steamboat was invented, and Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx issued the Communist Manifesto. Today, this period of history is known as Romanticism.

This was a time when historical styles were being rediscovered in architecture, which was greatly influenced by both Gothic architecture and the exotic architecture of the Far East. The Gothic revival brought with it an interest in early English literature, which influenced many artists.

Romanticism was a time when many developments were made in art as well. Louis Daguerre invented photography; collapsible tin tubes for oil paint made it possible to paint outdoors; and chemical pigments were invented allowing for a wider range of colors to be utilized by artists.

Artists took an interest in depicting legends, literature, nature, exotica, current events and violence in their works. The mind was also of great interest to Romantic artists. States of the conscious mind, as well as dreams and nightmares, were portrayed for the first time in Western art during this period. The focus of Romantic art was on emotion and passion more so than what the artist was actually seeing.

Romantic art was launched by Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa, which was based on a shipwreck that caused a huge political scandal. Succeeding Géricault's death, Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, a temperamental and private man, became the leader of the French Romantic movement.


Eugène Delacroix was born on April 26, 1798 in Charenton-St-Maurice, France to a notable artistic family. His father, Charles Delacroix, passed away when Eugène was just seven years old. Eugène was educated...