Remember me talking about Paris being all chill and white skies? I actually had an almost completely clear and gloriously sunny day when I visited in February – not that it was any less chilly. Feel however I may feel about Paris, I will admit that it’s a beautiful city, and sunny skies suit it. Can you guess how I spent this lovely sunny day? Inside museums, of course!
How cute is this bakery? It’s so unassuming from the outside, I don’t think I would’ve ever gone in if I hadn’t found it when searching for “coffee” near my initial destination.
Delacroix was born near Paris at the end of the 18th century, son to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and later ambassador to Holland, and to the daughter of a renowned cabinetmaker who worked for the king. He joined what was one of the largest ateliers of the time, belonging to Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, who failed to recognize and nurture Delacroix’s talent. Instead, Delacroix was influenced greatly by Théodore Géricault, and for whom he posed for The Raft of the Medusa.
He submitted work for the first time to the Salon of 1822, at merely twenty-four years old, and caught the attention of critics of the time. He belonged to a generation of Romantics, like Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, who wished to reshape the idea of art and pursue their own styles. He exhibited again in 1824 (The Massacre at Scio) and in 1827 (Death of Sardanapalus), the latter of which has to be, at once, one of the most violent and most beautiful paintings I’ve ever seen in my life. Come the French Revolution, Delacroix drew inspiration from it to create a painting he submitted to the Salon of 1831: Liberty Leading the People, which is not far behind (all three works are part of the Musée du Louvre collections).
Prior to living at this address, Delacroix had called the then-fashionable Nouvelle-Athènes district home, and left it partially because of this garden. Landscaped by Delacroix himself, and refurbished in 2012, the space provided him with a peaceful respite and some space in which to construct a studio, which visitors can also explore.
In 1832, Delacroix voyaged to Morocco on a diplomatic mission to soothe the Sultan’s worries over the recent French conquest of Algeria. Having only ever left France once, in 1825 to spend the summer in England, he was duly impressed and amazed by everything he saw. This trip to Morocco remained with him throughout his life, making itself known in his work ever thereafter — he created a total of 72 paintings on the subject.
The museum contains both works by Delacroix, including his only three attempts at fresco painting, and memorabilia such as easels, palettes, and souvenirs from Delacroix’s Moroccan trip.