In what way was Eugène Delacroix influenced by political chaos in his art?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Delacroix was significantly impacted by political chaos in his art.  Delacroix believed that political chaos both reaffirmed and embodied his Romantic love of passion and intensity on the grandest of stages.  For example, Delacroix's rendering of The Massacre at Chios brings out the savagery of the Turks towards Greek civilians.  While this is awful imagery, it is representative of human passion and emotion, something that Delacroix enjoyed immensely and reveled in depicting.  Political chaos is influential in the artwork because one sees the pain of political marginalization in the suffering of the people on the ground, the sick and the elderly, the feeding mother as well as the wounded.  The battle between political authority's brutality and the people who must experience it is brought out in the artwork.  In Liberty Leading the People, political chaos is evident in how Lady Liberty carries the flag of freedom, leading the resistance against authority, with bodies trampled under foot.  The price of freedom and voice is sacrifice, and Delacroix captures this with beauty and savagery, reflecting the passion and intensity present in political chaos.


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