I quite fancied the Delacroix exhibition at the National Gallery, as though I can’t claim to know a great deal about the artist, what I do know I generally like. The exhibition, entitled Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art, ended on 22 May so I only just managed to catch it.
The exhibition looked at the art of Eugène Delacroix in the context of his influence on later artists. Paintings of his were displayed alongside works by other artists, including Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse, to show how he influenced them; these works included landscapes, still lives and portraiture. Interestingly, one of Cézanne’s works directly references Delacroix’ heroic status among artists: his The Apotheosis of Delacroix (1890-1904) shows artists praying to Delacroix, who is being transported heavenwards. Other works displayed included Henri Fantin-Latour’s Immortality, which also paid homage to Delacroix. Some impressive Delacroix paintings were included, such as his 1858 Tangier from the Shore, but sadly his greatest paintings were absent, so I didn’t get the full sense of how impressive he was.
While I did enjoy the exhibition and found it illuminating, I would have liked to see more of Delacroix’ own work, and was slightly disappointed that it was not more closely concerned with him. Apart from that though, it was obviously well planned and thoughtfully organised.