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Delacroix started painting after witnessing the violent escalation of protests against a set of restrictive ordinances that Charles X issued on July 26, For three days, later known as les Trois Glorieuses July 27—29working- and middle-class citizens set up barricades in the Paris streets and fought the royal army.
Unable to contain the insurrection, Charles X soon abdicated.
Louis-Philippethe so-called Citizen King, took the throne and created a constitutional monarchy. Delacroix finished the painting in three months, and it was shown with 23 other revolution-inspired works at the Salonan annual exhibition of French art held at the Louvre.
Yet Delacroix, by combining realism and idealism and by applying his characteristically expressive brushwork, created a more modern scene that contrasted with those of his competitors. Contemporary critics and viewers were nonetheless divided on whether the painting was heroic or distasteful. A half-nude female figure dominates the monumental painting 8.
She is a personification of liberty, a classical symbol used throughout the history of art. Indeed, her yellow dress swirls around her body, loosely tied with red rope and falling from her shoulders in a manner that is reminiscent of heroic Greek sculptures, such as the Winged Victory of Samothrace c.
Her modernity is heightened by the Tricolor she hoists above her head Looking for someone interesting 1830 the musket with the bayonet she grasps in her other hand. Some critics, however, found her grimy skin and alleged underarm hair to be too human for a personified ideal. The fighters are also idealized realist figures, representing the different types of people who took part in the revolution. To the left is a member of the bourgeoisieidentified by his top hat, cravat, and tailored black coat.
He is armed with a hunting shotgun. Farther back is a craftsman or factory worker, wearing a work shirt, apron, and sailor pants and wielding a sabre. A younger figure to the right, marked as a student by his faluchea black velvet beret, shouts a rallying call as he brandishes a pistol in each hand.
Liberty surmounts a barricade of cobblestones and fallen figures, as one wearied fighter looks up hopefully at her. Another figure, a male in a nightshirt and nude from the waist down, lies at the bottom left corner. He may have been beaten by the opposition in his home and dragged into the street as an example.
A member of the royal army, recognizable by his blue coat and epaulets, lies next to a fallen comrade in the other corner.
In the background Notre Dame rises through a clearing of smoke, its south tower nearly obscuring its twin and heralding a barely discernible Tricolor on its roof. The cathedral is the only structure Delacroix included in an arrangement of churning human bodies, but he subdued the chaos of the scene by using a pyramidal composition and fairly muted colours.
It spent the next years in storage and was later returned to the artist before being exhibited again at the Luxembourg. While on loan to the Louvre-Lens, an extension of the Louvre in northern Francethe painting was vandalized in Conservators fully restored the piece shortly afterward. Liberty Leading the People. Additional Info. Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.
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Full Article. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Charles Xking of France from to His reign dramatized the failure of the Bourbons, after their restoration, to reconcile the tradition of…. Bourbon Restoration—30 in France, the period that began when Napoleon I abdicated and the Bourbon monarchs were restored to the throne. History at your fingertips.
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Liberty Leading the People