Eugène Delacroix Picture Study Aid and Art Prints

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Eugène Delacroix Picture Study Aid

Included in this 27-page Eugène Delacroix Picture Study Aid (download a sample Picture Study Aid here!) is the following:

  • a summary of the life of the French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863).
  • a synopsis of seven of his works (see right).
  • resources for additional reading can be found in the Living Art Book Archive.
  • printable versions of the pieces covered in the PDF version.
  • a brief discussion about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for implementing picture study at different ages is also included.
  • the printed book is saddle-stitched with high-quality, 100-lb., smooth paper and full color.

There is also an option to order separate, professional art prints for each piece for use during your picture study time in the drop-down menu below as well. These are printed on durable cardstock with a smooth finish and display beautifully. The prints do not include the Picture Study Aid digital PDF download – this is a separate purchase.

The pieces discussed* are:

  • Rebecca and the Wounded Ivanhoe
    (1823 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
  • Young Orphan Girl in the Cemetery
    (1824 – Musée du Louvre, Paris)
  • Liberty Leading the People
    (1830 – Musée du Louvre, Paris – This painting is the piece for which Delacroix is most well known, but does contain nudity. You can see the full image here.)
  • Madame Henri François Riesener
    (1835 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
  • Moulay Abd-er-Rahman, Sultan of Morocco, leaving his palace in Meknes, surrounded by his guard and his main officers
    (1845 – Musée des Augustins de Toulouse, Toulouse, France)
  • Christ on the Sea of Galilee
    (1854 – The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland)
  • The Lion Hunt
    (1855 – Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden)

*AmblesideOnline users, please note that these are not all the same pieces as those selected for the AmblesideOnline artist rotation.

A picture is nothing but a bridge between the soul of the artist and that of the spectator.


As I wrote in my Artists from the 1800s list, Eugène Delacroix is credited with bringing the Romantic movement to France. He was a giant in the art world of the 19th century, even during his lifetime, and many contemporary artists, as well as artists since, have highly respected and emulated his work.

His oeuvre includes a wide range of subjects. However, his most well-known piece, Liberty Leading the People, is a record of one of the many tumultuous political events that characterized the late part of the 18th century and early part of the 19th century in France. Ironically, the painting that has become a symbol of France and one of the most recognized pieces in the world was hidden from public view for a large part of the 19th century. After it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1831, politicians were afraid it might inspire another insurrection.

Delacroix had an intense personality, which is evident in many of his paintings, especially those inspired by his time in North Africa. These include scenes of historical battles and violent encounters between wild animals and humans. Art critic Charles Baudelaire left us with this description of him:

“He was compact of energy, but of an energy which sprang from the power of the nerves and the will, for physically he was frail and delicate. The eyes of the tiger watchful of its prey have less fiery a gleam, its muscles are less tense with quivering impatience than those of the great painter, as with his whole soul he flung himself on an idea or endeavoured to grasp a dream. The very character of his physiognomy, his features…, his eyes which were large and black, but which had become narrowed by the perpetual efforts of a concentrated gaze, and seemed to drink in and absorb and savour the light, his glossy and abundant hair, his determined forehead, his tight-drawn lips which had acquired an expression of cruelty from the constant straining of the will — in a word, his whole person seemed to suggest an exotic origin.”

The intention of this Eugène Delacroix Picture Study Aid is to equip the home educator with some basic facts and understanding of a sampling of Eugène Delacroix’s work. It is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis or study of each piece or a complete biography of the artist.

About picture study, Ms. Mason recommended keeping learning as simple as possible, especially in the younger years, and put extra emphasis on the images by themselves.

There is no talk about schools of painting, little about style; consideration of these matters comes in later life, the first and most important thing is to know the pictures themselves. As in a worthy book we leave the author to tell his own tale, so do we trust a picture to tell its tale through the medium the artist gave it. In the region of art as else-where we shut out the middleman. (vol 6 pg 216)

Definite teaching is out of the question; suitable ideas are easily given, and a thoughtful love of Art inspired by simple natural talk over the picture at which the child is looking. (PR Article “Picture Talks”)

…we begin now to understand that art is not to be approached by such an acadamised road. It is of the spirit, and in ways of the spirit must we make our attempt. We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves. A friendly picture-dealer supplies us with half a dozen beautiful little reproductions of the work of some single artist, term by term. After a short story of the artist’s life and a few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the little pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it, taking in every detail.” (vol 6 pg 214)

Picture Study Aids are meant to offer basic information about the artists as well as ready answers should your student ask about a particular aspect of a piece and the explanation isn’t readily evident. Ms. Mason emphasized not focusing on strict academic discourse when doing picture study, but rather simply exposing students to the art itself:

His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new;––…––in fact, every child should leave school with at least a couple of hundred pictures by great masters hanging permanently in the halls of his imagination, to say nothing of great buildings, sculpture, beauty of form and colour in things he sees. Perhaps we might secure at least a hundred lovely landscapes too,––sunsets, cloudscapes, starlight nights. At any rate he should go forth well furnished because imagination has the property of magical expansion, the more it holds the more it will hold. (vol 6 pg 43)

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