EUGENE DELACROIX,Vintage Art Masterpieces,Vintage Prints for Sale Dante and Virgil in Hell by EUGENE DELACROIX {French School}

Dante and Virgil in Hell by EUGENE DELACROIX {French School}

Dante and Virgil in Hell

by EUGENE DELACROIX {French School}

 

DELACROIX was a patrician and a scholar, the most prodigiously endowed
artist of the nineteenth century.

He was as generous in his praise of the Dutch­
men as of the Italians; he proclaimed the genius of Goya and Daumier, and
defended the rights of all honest artists, whether he liked them or not.

A spec­tacular figure, incapable of vulgarity and the most distinguished conversa­
tionalist in Paris, he was the consummate product of French culture. Of
delicate health and extremely nervous, he was forced to conserve his strength,
but his work, in bulk, compares favorably with the most productive artists.

 

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With feverish intellectual curiosity, he gathered ideas from Dante, Scott,
Byron, and Shakespeare; from mythology, the Crusades, the Revolution, and
contemporary events; he painted portraits, battle pieces, animals, genre
scenes, and murals, and he painted religious themes.

By orgies of unnatural toil, Delacroix restored the heroic elements to paint­
ing-his whole life was a magnificent gesture toward Rubens and the lords
of the Venetian Renaissance.

His later works-and they grew larger and more
involved with time-beyond peradventure are the most accomplished decora­
tions of his century, but they are more flamboyant than real, and the massive
figures strain and lurch to fill the mold of Rubens.

His finest and most dra­matic things were done in the first period,

before his frenetic attempts to ex­pand himself into the stature of the Flemish giant.

Delacroix came into the arena with his Dante and Virgil, a work of in­
calculable force for a youth of twenty-three, and a work which, after the lapse
of time, remains close to the masterpieces of the higher spheres.

While en­
gaged on the picture, he had The Divine Comedy read to him, painting like
one possessed, and introducing his most effective type of design-a group of
strongly lighted, centralized figures surrounded by darkened spaces.

The
scene, inspired by the Fifth Circle of the Inferno, represents Dante and Virgil,
his guide, crossing a Stygian marsh on a ferry propelled by one of the damned.
The passage is obstructed by souls of the sullen and the slothful, who were
doomed to steep for an eternity in the brackish waters.

One of them, in mortal
life a rich Florentine of notorious greed, and an enemy of the poet, seizes the
boat threateningly, and is repulsed by Dante with an uplifted hand and a
colloquial imprecation beyond the powers of Delacroix to record.

 

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