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Eugene Delacroix: Remembering the Travel to Morocco of One of France’s Greatest Painters — Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.)

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Delacroix, Luxembourg Gardens, bronze sculpture by Jules Dalou

Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel (ret.)
June 25, 2018

Eugene Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a renown French Romantic artist, who was generally regarded as the best of this school in his time. His work influenced the Impressionists and Symbolist movement.  He was a great lithographer and took his inspiration from the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance.  In the words of Baudelaire, “Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible”.

One of the most interesting times during his career was a trip he took to Morocco. Delacroix was not an adventurer by nature but, in 1832, he agreed to accompany a diplomatic mission to Morocco, Algeria and Spain, as his expenses were paid and he would travel safely and comfortably.

Delacroix would eventually produce more than 100 paintings portraying the people of North Africa, some of which would be among his most famous works. He compared the dress of the Arabs ofNorth Africa to that of ancient Greeks and Romans. While in Morocco he said, “The Greeks and Romans are here at my door, in the Arabs who wrap themselves in a white blanket and look like Cato or Brutus…”.

The Louvre museum has assembled 180 of his works, mostly paintings from his time in Morocco. The exhibit is will be at the Louvre until July 23rd, a date which coincides with an important Moroccan anniversary, the death of King Hassan II.

“Eugène Delacroix was one of the giants of French painters who had long, prolific, and multifaceted career.”  This exhibition introduces visitors to an “engaging character: a virtuoso writer, painter, and illustrator who was curious, critical, and cultivated, infatuated with fame and devoted to his work.”.  Here are but a few of his Moroccan works.

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Moroccan Kaid visiting a tribe and offering milk, 1832

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Arab sitting cross-legged, hands crossed, 1832

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Jewish wife in Tanger, 1832

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Moroccan Military Exercises, also called Arabic Fantasia, 1832

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Jewish wedding in Morocco, 1832

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