12 of the Most Famous Paintings by Eugène Delacroix

Famous Paintings by Eugène Delacroix

These are the 12 most famous paintings by Eugène Delacroix. Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), sometimes known as Ferdinand-Eugène-Victor Delacroix, was a prominent French Romantic painter whose use of color influenced both Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting.

Liberty Leading the People (1830)

Not only one of the most famous paintings by Eugène Delacroix but also one of all of art history, this painting depicts the celebration of the July Revolution of 1830, which overthrew King Charles X of France. Liberty was portrayed by Delacroix as an allegorical goddess and a strong heroine of the people. Many scholars regard the conclusion of the French Revolution as the beginning of the Romantic era, hence the painting has been regarded as a landmark for the end of the Enlightenment.

Massacre at Chios (1824)

This painting depicts the tragedy and destruction experienced on the island of Chios. A display of pain, military power, beautiful clothes, fear, and death in a scene of widespread misery. The painting features no heroic figure to offset the crushed victims, and there is little to indicate hope among the destruction and sorrow, which is unusual for a painting of civil disaster during this period.

The Women of Algiers (1834)

This painting depicts four women who are trapped in a magnificently decorated room. Three seated women are dressed to impress in billowing gowns and jewelry. The painting provides a detailed explanation and a precise point of balance between Classicism and Romanticism. A second version of this painting was painted fifteen years later, between 1847 and 1849.

Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi (1826)

This is a painting of Greece as a kneeling woman dressed in traditional Greek clothing, with her chest exposed and her arms stretched out in a sorrowful gesture. Aspects of Christianity are incorporated into this artwork. The Third Siege of Missolonghi by Ottoman soldiers in 1826 was the inspiration for this painting.

Horse Frightened by a Storm, watercolour (1824)

Horse Frightened by a Storm – also known as Horse Frightened by Lightening, depicts a white horse that is frightened by the thunderstorm and shakes uncontrollably in the storm. “Horse Frightened by a Storm” is also known as “White Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm.” The animal’s reaction is represented with attention due to the strong use of color and intricate brushwork, which conveys fear and terror.

The Barque of Dante (1822)

This painting depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno, in which Dante and Virgil cross the River Styx in hell, grabbing the boat in an effort to escape their torments. Focusing on strong emotions, the lost souls’ faces are filled with anger and despair, and their bodies are deformed, while Dante is visibly afraid, raising his arms in the air.

Lion Hunt (1860-1861)

This painting depicts lions, tigers, and horseback riders fighting to the death. Strong brushstrokes and the contrast of complementing colors create the atmosphere that is so distinctive of Romanticism. This painting was influenced by the hunting paintings of the 17th-century master Peter Paul Rubens, which he created more than two decades after his journey to Morocco.

A Young Tiger Playing with its Mother (1830)

This painting depicts two massive tigers playing with each other. The young tiger slopes toward his mother and they both go towards rocks under a cloudy sky. The painting was influenced by Peter Paul Rubens and is the total opposite of Delacroix’s ferocious “Tiger Hunt,” expressing the fury and sensitivity of these animals.

Horses Leaving the Sea (1860)

This painting depicts two horses exiting the sea, led by a Moroccan rider. “Horses Leaving the Sea” is also known as “Horses Coming Out of the Sea.” It was painted for the same art dealer as “Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable” and is sometimes considered a companion piece to that painting. Among Delacroix’s masterpieces, this is one of the final Moroccan reminiscences.

Arab Horses Fighting in a Stable (1860)

This is a painting of a real-life event that Delacroix witnessed during a journey to Morocco, which is a fight between Arab horses. These are untamable, powerful beasts, not elegantly shiny creatures, and their energy demands the painter’s spontaneous and forceful technique. This is one of Delacroix’s final artworks.

Two Studies of an Indian from Calcutta, Seated and Standing (1823)

This is a painting of two Indian men from Calcutta, dressed in traditional clothing and wearing a red hat. One man is sitting down, and the other one is standing and holding a stick. With no smiles on their faces, both men stare at the viewer. The background is very plain and simple.

Orphan Girl at the Cemetery (1823)

This painting depicts tears flowing from the eyes of a grief-stricken girl as she looks anxiously upward. The low light of the sky and the deserted ground reflect her sad expression. “Orphan Girl at the Cemetery” is also known as “Young Orphan Girl in the Cemetery.” It was used as a study for one of Delacroix’s most well-known works.

What famous paintings by Eugène Delacroix do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.

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