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Delacroix Hardcover – September 28, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Sorbonne professor and curator of a Delacroix exhibit at the Bibliothèque Nationale gives readers a new, lucid, and well-illustrated study of this painter--a familiar name who is still not widely understood or popular. Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), so very much tied to the history of his time, created vast canvases using that history as allegory. Therefore, he must suffer in appreciation today, when so few museumgoers have the cultural baggage they possessed a century and a half ago. So, huge canvases like The Death of Sardanapalus and The Murder of the Bishop of Liege must mean less to contemporary viewers, just as another painting, Tasso in the Hospital of Saint Anna, was more meaningful to a viewing public who had actually read the work of Torquato Tasso, author of Gerusalemme Liberata. However, the good reproductions in this book and Barthelmy Jobert's cogent analyses go far to underline Delacroix's inspiration from previous artists like Michelangelo, and his strong grasp of architecture.

Princeton University Press has done a good production job on this title, although they are scandalously scant when it comes to crediting the translators, Terry Grabar and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren (who did a clear job of translating from the original French, but are mentioned only in minuscule print on the copyright page). Even the author must have considered this unchivalrous, for he thanked the translators in his own fine-print acknowledgements at the end of the book. Apart from this detail, Jobert's Delacroix in English is a bravura effort and a very welcome and attractive addition to any bookshelf of 19th-century European art. --Benjamin Ivry


Honorable Mention for the 1998 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in the Arts, Association of American Publishers

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1999

"The reader has the amazing feeling of following Delacroix--almost physically--in the slightest moves he makes and, above all, in the most minute transformations of his artistic choices.... The author displays an impeccable erudition. Moreover ... he offers us a new, frank portrait of Delacroix, the man behind the myth."--Le Monde des livres


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691004188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691004181
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #750,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
We are lucky that so much of DELACROIX's art is still around, lightly spread throughout the world: the only lost works are "Cardinal Richelieu saying mass" during the sack of the Palais Royal in 1848, the decoration of the Salon de la Paix at the Paris Hotel de Ville during the Commune, and "Justinian drafting his laws" during the fire at the Conseil d'Etat in the Palais d'Orsay in 1871. Taken in by anything new that the paint suppliers were selling, DELACROIX made bad choices in canvas and paints: the Romantic "Battle of Nancy," the Classical "Boissy d'Anglas at the National Convention," and the exotic "Moroccan chieftain receiving tribute" suffered from using bitumen, just as "Barque of Dante" has from going over fresh spots. Yet he thought of painting as storytelling with the richly vigorous colors of Peter Paul Rubens and of Paolo Veronese's "St Barnabas healing the sick." He was the only great Western artist to leave masses of manuscripts, as journals, letters and published articles, so we can walk our way through his sketches and writings to the finished products of the master colorist of people, landscapes, buildings, and animals: "Louis-Auguste Schwiter" standing, as his only full-length portrait, inspired by Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds; "Charles de Verninac," in two Thomas Lawrence-style expressive bust portraits, with a carefully worked face, large brushstrokes, sketchy background clothes, and subtly agreeing colors; and his last, "Alfred Bruyas," with a Hamlet-like head melancholic, meditative and languid in a harmony of greens, browns and blacks.Read more ›
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