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Journal of Delacroix (Arts & Letters)
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This journal is a surprisingly accessible account of Delacroix's life. It has been well edited and covers a time frame spanning his early years, then his later life. Within these pages he includes his observations of Paris and the French countryside in the mid-nineteenth century, the people he knew like Chopin and Georges Sand, as well as his passionate reviews of works of art that influenced him. He offers sublime meditations on the nature of creativity and ruminates over ideas he has for new works. His outpourings capture the essence of the romantic movement. As an artist, even though separated from him by over a century, I found him to be a kindred spririt.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
In order to get something worthwhile out of reading Delacroix's Journals, the reader should know something about Delacroix other than that he was a 19th century painter of the first rank. Ingres found Delacroix's work execrable and cast aspersion upon him by saying that: Delacroix was an apostle of ugliness who had come to 'end' painting as the French and the Europeans in general knew it. Today, Delacroix's work occupies a huge chunk of the Louvre's halls -- outstripping Ingre's portion. The fact that Delacroix in fact did fulfill Ingres' curse/prophecy may say something about the nature of death/life and rebirth/resurrection in art.
I read this wonderful book over ten years ago and so powerful was the impact of Delacroix's insights into the nature, perception, creational origin, and fate of art that much of it still remain with me. Delacroix in his day was not revered as he is today. He did not have people knocking down his doors to see his work, nor did he always have it easy trying to show it publicly. One day, after a bad review, to console himself, he wrote that (I paraphase) a great work of art in history is like a plank of wood held under water -- it is kept down when the powers-that-be hold it down. But that power ('political agenda' in contempo art-babble) does not last forever and must sooner or later let go of the plank whose nature is to float to the surface for all the world to see. He seem to have had the same intuition about the nature and fuction of art as the Greeks did: that art is light, that which shines of its own, and by which power that which 'sheds lights' and 'explains' what is around it rather than something that needs to be explained.
He never married but was looked after by a doting housekeeper. Not exactly a recluse, but most certainly a man of breeding descended of a noble stock who was careful about the company he kept, Delacroix spent much time, as artists and thinkers do, with his own thoughts and feelings, and expressing them. He was famous for his cordiality and urbanity, and among his friends in town (Paris) were Chopin, Georges Sand, and other individuals who would leave a mark (or in some cases, a mountain) in the arts one way or another. In other words, Delacroix was an agreeable man and as sociable as any thoughtful man would be but no more. Delacroix's social life is visible in these pages as is the Parisian milieu in which he lived and worked.
But the really great thing about Delacroix's Journals is that one gets to see something about how a great artist sees and feels things. Although he is over a century removed from us, his work and thoughts serve as a reminder that art is not always about anything socially or politically itchy; that art is just art; and that art is not something one needs to get hysterical about or merely a medium to carry an agenda. The fact that, historically, art was always commissioned by the aristocracy, and executed by those who were aristocratic in feeling and sensibility is one that is largely ignored today. Read this and see the significance of this fact, and why the term democratic art is ultimately an ugly oxymoron. Those who would champion the 'demos' sometimes think too highly of art and the need for "the people"'s participation in it.
In my humble opinion, if Delacroix were alive today, I think he would have loved Rauschenberg's and Jean-Michel Basquiat's work and their strong democratic origins but he would detest the democratization of art as such as found in Van Gogh umbrellas and calendars so loved by those who "love" art. He wouldn't go to Mozart Festivals either.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
In reference to ISBN 0714833592, the paper the book is printed on is so thin that printing from the obverse side shows through making it a pain to read. I returned the book. To substantiate my point, per the product description the book is 0.7 inches thick and is 570 pages. That is a very thin book for 570 pages!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The print in this book is so small it's impossible for older people to read it. I was very disappointed because I love Delacroix
but found it too difficult to read the small print.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A most magnificent work, started after the death of his mother. Shows how important observation of nature, and life in general is. Toataly dedicated to his craft. A secret winding to the mid- 1800's. The searh for the "perfect" grey pigment.

A true treasure which I have purchased for my children and friends.

A true picture of what artistry should be and remain. Here was an artist who remained to be his own person. Somethin in our current century is quite absent.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Critic Roger Kimball called Delacroix's Journal "perhaps the greatest literary testament any painter has left." See Roger Kimball, "Delacroix Reconsidered," The New Criterion, Sept. 1998, p. 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
So much more than I was expecting. Delacroix is a fine writer as well as an artist, reflecting on mores, music and art styles of the mid 19th century. I couldn't put it down, finding myself scanning ahead for a series of mini-essays on how to paint scattered liberally through its many pages. I read it beginning to end, but browsing through randomly works here. A lot of insight in one volume.
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on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
I remember learning about Delacroix in school and I thought he was terrific, I really loved his paintings, his sketches. I have loads of books that have paintings that Delacroix had done and now having this Journal to add to the collection makes it sort of almost complete. This is going to be terrific reading him day by day, to understand how this legends mind worked.

To truly understand a person, you have to get into someones mind, you have to learn to read them and you have got to listen deep within yor soul and this is what I'm hoping to do with his journal, becaz even though I do know quite abit about Delacroix, there's still quite a lot I hav got to master so I'm so thankful I found a copy of his Journal.

ok, he was described as a disturbed artist, but I thought he was an inspiration to us all and was a true legend.

The journal first appeared before the public in 1893 and this is fab learning once again all about one of the greatest, if not the best artist in the world.
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Format: Paperback
... and he jumps into "fifty shades of grey" within the first few pages of his diary -- noting that his new girlfriend's "breast is fluttering."

This is really quite a sensational little diary; it is incredible it was not lost, that it was saved.

I used to think Monet was the most important Impressionist; I wonder if it was not Delacroix.

As far as the "thin pages, tiny font," this makes the book particularly unique and a huge plus. I almost feel like I am holding a "holy book" while reading it. I have no problem reading it; the reader who mentioned that the type showed through must have been reading under a very strong light and very much uninterested in Delacroix.

Delacroix was as much a writer as a painter -- anyone interested in the Romanticism period should take take a look at this book. It also explains why Delacroix is noted for his "Arab" paintings.

Easily 5 stars.
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on January 13, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This little book gives a great insight into the life and views of Eugene Delacroix. It is interesting to read about locations that I've visited in Paris as Delacroix reflects on the Paris of the 1800's. His views on the artists, musicians and writers of his day are most fascinating.
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