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La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People) by Eugène Delacroix, 1830 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On 14 July, I wanted to publish a post on Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863), one of two illegitimate sons fathered by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord (2 February 1754 – 17 May 1838) (2 February 1754 – 17 May 1838), but life took me to a second parking lot narrative. I am learning over and over again that planet Earth is not “the best of all possible worlds” (Voltaire’s Candide).

But let us first take a brief look at events, art, and life in 19th-century France.

The Duc de Morny and Eugène Delacroix: Half-Brothers

We have already met le duc de Morny (15–16 September 1811, Switzerland – 10 March 1865, Paris). He transformed the talented and beautiful Marie Duplessis (15 January 1824 – 3 February 1847) into Paris’ most prominent salonnière and courtesan. At that time in history, many marriages were arranged. In the aristocracy, lineage was a priority. Consequently, men took a mistress. The duc de Morny was born to Hortense de Beauharnais (10 April 1783 – 5 October 1837) and Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord’s grandson. But Hortense, whose mother, Joséphine de Beauharnais, married Napoleon I, married Napoleon’s brother, Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland.

David, Delacroix, Ingres: Romanticism and Neoclassicism

Part of Delacroix’s story was told in a post entitled Eugène Delacroix’s “Mandarin Drake” (5 June 2014). Delacroix is associated with Romanticism and therefore differs from Jacques-Louis David (30 August 1748 – 29 December 1825) who is presented to students of the fine arts for works such as his Oath of the Horatii, a painting in the neoclassical style. Yet David is also the artist who painted The Death of Marat (1793), a masterpiece one cannot easily subject to pigeonholing.


The Death of Marat (1793) by Jacques-Louis David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jacques-Louis_David_-_Oath_of_the_Horatii_-_Google_Art_Project (1)

Oath of the Horatii (second version; 1786) by Jacques-Louis David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) is also a very prominent painter. His Grande Odalisque (1814) is magnificent, despite its share of Orientalism:  Art is Art.


Grande OdalisqueJean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1814 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Régimes from 1792 until the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871)

Between 1792 and 1871, France was a Republic, twice; a Monarchy, twice; an Empire, twice, and it suffered a Second French Revolution, which took place in 1848. The 1848 French Revolution echoed various uprisings occurring in several European countries, some rooted in decisions made at the Congress of Vienna (November 1814 to June 1815), which ended the Napoleonic Wars, others reflecting national disasters, such as the Greek War of Independence. The Greek War of Independence inspired Delacroix, and Lord Byron (2 January 1788 – 19 April 1824). Lord Byron had in fact, become a militant who died of a fever he contracted at Missolonghi.


Étude d’Arabe assis, Eugène Delacroix, 1830s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love & Vive la France

La Marseillaise, Rouget de l’Isle and Hector Berlioz
version intégrale, complete with lyricsAlex Le Fou (YouTube)


The Departure of the volunteers of 1792” (a.k.a. La Marseillaise), sculpture by François Rude, Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, Paris, France (Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
23 July 2018