Posthumous Auction (02:54)
Eugene Delacroix requested that his studio contents be sold after his death, including sketchbooks from his journey to Morocco. (Credits)
"The Barque of Dante" (03:15)
Delacroix's work was first exhibited at the Salon Du Louvre in 1822. Neo-classicism was popular; learn about his debut painting depicting Dante's visit to hell with Virgil. Critics questioned its theme and innovative technique.
"The Massacre at Chois" (02:52)
Early 19th century painters rejected mythology for emotion and reality. Delacroix was inspired by Anne-Louis Girodet's "The Revolt of Cairo" and Theodore Gericault's "The Raft of the Medusa." Learn about his 1824 Salon Du Louvre selection depicting the Greek independence struggle.
"The Death of Sardanapalus" (01:52)
Critics rejected Delacroix's 1827 Salon Du Louvre selection that represented a Western Orientalist vision. Its colors, composition and nudes were deemed inappropriate. It reflected growing social unrest under Charles X.
"Liberty Leading the People" (04:03)
Learn about Charles X's invasion of Algeria and fall from power in 1830. Delacroix's depiction of a Paris barricade became a national icon but was rejected as vulgar by critics. Louis Philippe I awarded Delacroix the Legion de Honour.
Diplomatic Mission to Morocco (02:33)
In 1831, Moroccan troops amassed in Algeria's Tlemcen Province, provoking the French colonial government. Louis Philippe tasked Charles-Edgar de Mornay with meeting with Sultan Moulay Abd al-Rahman in Meknes to request his neutrality. Mornay requested an artist companion.
Portrayals of the Orient (03:23)
Mornay's mistress Mademoiselle Mars introduced him to Delacroix in November 1831. Western painters had been fascinated by Turkish culture since the 18th century; artists accompanying Napoleon Bonaparte to Egypt provided more realistic images.
Preparing for Morocco (03:48)
Delacroix was not well-traveled and suffered melancholy. Tube paints had not yet been invented; he packed pencils, pastels and watercolors and kept travel sketchbooks. He and Mornay departed on January 1, 1832.
Journey to Morocco (02:58)
Delacroix and Mornay experienced winter storms from Paris to Toulon. After delays, their boat was quarantined in Gibraltar due to a cholera outbreak. They arrived in Tangier to a welcome ceremony; Delacroix was struck by the simplicity of Moroccan dress.
First Impressions of Morocco (04:07)
Mornay's interpreter only knew Lebanese Arabic, and was unable to communicate. Local merchant Abraham Benchimol replaced him. The delegation visited the Pasha of Tangier; Delacroix sketched the city and enjoyed the warm climate.
Cultural Adjustment (03:36)
Delacroix visited Benchimol's family. Jews comprised forty percent of Tangier's population and were more willing to have their image sketched than Muslims. While Mornay gathered military information, Delacroix noted public scenes and painted them from memory.
Seven Sketchbooks from Morocco (02:44)
Delacroix filled books with drawings, watercolors, and written observations that he later used for Orientalist paintings. They were auctioned to several buyers; some are at the Louvre. He knew he could not capture everything.
"The Jewish Wedding" (03:31)
Delacroix sketched and later painted a Tangier marriage celebration. He was struck by its relaxed, family atmosphere. Its technical originality impressed viewers at the 1841 Salon; it would influence Impressionists.
Discovering a New World (04:35)
Delacroix and Mornay experienced delays during the Morocco mission. Delacroix adopted a relaxed rhythm and dispelled his preconceived notions about Moroccan people and culture. He found French black suits uncomfortable and appreciated Moroccan robed garments.
Fascination with Horses (02:32)
A fight between Mornay's horse and that of the British consul in Tangier inspired a series of paintings. Delacroix's detailed sketches of Moroccan riders show his interest in equestrianism.
"The Convulsionists of Tangier" (01:21)
After two months, Mornay and Delacroix received word from the Sultan. See Delacroix's painting of Ramadan celebrations in Tangier.
Journey to Meknes (04:42)
Delacroix often painted Mohammed ben Abou ben Abd el-Malek, head of his party's military escort from Tangier. He learned to prioritize poetry over detail while sketching scenes. Crossing the river inspired "Moroccan Horseman Crossing a Ford."
Arrival in Meknes (03:31)
Delacroix and Mornay toured the 11th century town's ramparts. The Sultan welcomed them with a mounted celebration that inspired "Arab Fantasia at Meknes."
Audience with the Sultan (02:14)
See Delacroix's painting of the Sultan's entourage in a Meknes welcoming ceremony.
Return Journey to France (01:59)
Delacroix explored Meknes, including the royal stables. Mornay convinced the Sultan to withdraw troops from Tlemcen in Algeria. Delacroix found cultural similarities to Morocco in Andalusia.
"Women of Algiers in Their Apartment" (06:48)
While Mornay reported to the French representative in Algeria, Delacroix visited the harem of a Muslim household. His presence represents predatory attitudes of Orientalist painters. Hear how the painting symbolizes destruction wreaked by colonial French armies, also condemned in his writing.
Reflections on Morocco (03:07)
Delacroix experienced reverse culture shock upon returning to Paris and isolated himself. His works in the 1834 Salon included "A Street in Tangier" and "Women of Algiers." They were criticized for being intimate and static.
Devoted to Art (03:39)
Delacroix's Morocco journey advanced how the West viewed the Orient; his paintings sought to represent Moroccan people truthfully. His studio was closed to visitors. He hired housekeeper Virginie Le Guillou and maintained a mistress. Remaining unmarried allowed him freedom to paint.
Delacroix's Models (03:10)
In 1847, Delacroix recreated the Sultan of Morocco's personal orchestra in Meknes. He contracted North African models and later photographed nude models to aid in painting.
Public Commissions (04:17)
Louis Philippe commissioned Delacroix to paint ceilings at the Palais Bourbon and Palais du Luxemberg. In 1849, he painted the Church of Saint-Sulpice—a 12 year project. "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel" and "Heliodorus" represent his life, including his Morocco journey.
Delacroix's Final Years (02:53)
Delacroix's daily journal is an important document in the history of art. He withdrew from public life and participated in a final Salon in 1859, favoring color over line and influencing young Impressionists. Hear Charles Baudelaire's thoughts on his work.
Delacroix's Legacy (02:52)
"Liberty Leading the People" has become a global manifesto of popular power. His Orientalist works inspired 19th and 20th century painters, including Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Orientalism died with French colonialism. Delacroix's final work was "Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains."
Credits: Delacroix: From Paris to Morocco (00:53)
Credits: Delacroix: From Paris to Morocco
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