The French Romantic artist, Eugene Delacroix, is one of the best known artist of the period. In his magnificent pieces of work, he captured the essence of the movement. His themes are dark and create a sense of supernatural mood. He does not present life as delicate and pretty, but rather in a mysterious and sinister manner. The macabre painting, The Death of Sardanapal, is a perfect example of the work from the Romantic Period. The fascination with the exotic is displayed through the setting of the work.
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Before setting himself on fire, Sardanapal has all of his concubines killed and his possessions destroyed. Several of the concubines depict the horror of knowing they are in the last moments of their lives while he watches with no sympathy. This is symbolic of the monarch’s apathy toward the subjects who have no control of their lives. The Barque of Dante typifies the allure of the supernatural. The first famous painting by Delacroix depicts Virgil and Dante in hell while the souls of the damned horrify the two men and the background is dark and blurred.
Delacroix creates an element of mystery in his self-portrait as well. He does this with the expression on his face and the dark shaded background. The video did a wonderful job in displaying the art work. The information presented was enlightening and useful. Life was difficult for those who lived during the Romantic Period, and that is why Delacroix’s work mirrored the times. Transportation was rough and dangerous. People traveled by walking, horseback, carriages, and trains. All of these methods were difficult because of the roads, tracks, and their susceptibility to the weather.
Therefore, travel was short or nonexistent for the average citizen. Artistic works about exotic places were like bringing an adventure to the viewer. While more advanced than it had been in previous times, the medical field was also bleak. Blood letting, amputations, childbirth, and etc, were painful and perilous. This brought about much thought of the afterlife and supernatural which was depicted by the artist of the time. Because of a short life expectancy, death and the spirit world were a mystery that many longed to explore. There were few luxuries at the time.
Food consisted of over cooked and over salted meats with home grown vegetables like cabbage, turnips, and squash. Spices and other flavorings were a luxury the average household could not afford. Bread was the staple that families relied on to actually fill them until the next meal. The lavish lifestyles of the subjects in the paintings by Delacroix and others like him took the viewer to places that they could not go in their lifetimes. Families worked had to make their own rustic furniture. The only artistic outlet many of them had was through their needle work and carvings.
They made virtually everything for their own use that people today take for granted. They made their own soap, candles, and even wove their own cloth. Delacroix was one of the most important artists of the whole Romantic Period. His work not only represented the times, but has also stood the test of time. The video clearly informed about the life of those from the early nineteenth century before the Industrial Revolution. It did a brilliant job of relating the work of the artist of the period to the life that was lived by everyday people.