This painting by Eugene Delacroix, painted in 1830, is sometimes called “Liberty on the Barricades”, but its correct, original name is “Liberty Leading the People.” There is also a widespread misconception that the painting depicts the events of the French Revolution, but this is not so: the painting is filled with the spirit and events of July 1830, when Paris was engulfed in street fighting, which led to the abdication of Charles X, who was very much hated by almost everyone residents of France.
Eugene Delacroix’s young years, which passed under the banner of revolutionary ideas, prompted him to think about a painting that would symbolize the feat of the French people in the struggle against the tyrant. He set to work with zeal and three months later the painting “Freedom Leading the People” was finished and presented to the audience.
The painting depicts the height of the battle on the streets of Paris, a detachment of rebels, despite the losses, moves under a hail of bullets to their target. In front of them, with the flag of the French Republic and a gun in her hands, is a woman. This is Freedom, it leads the rebels to victory. On her head is a cap, which was in vogue among the Jacobins of that time, her chest is bare – she is ready to throw herself on the bayonets of the royal soldiers. The variety of the insurgents’ outfits suggests that people of a wide variety of professions and wealth have taken to the streets of Paris to fight against tyranny.
Despite the fact that Delacroix did not take a direct part in street battles, he also portrayed himself in the picture to show approval and unity with the freedom fighters.
Year of painting: 1830.
The dimensions of the painting are 260 x 325 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: historical painting.
Gallery: Louvre, Paris, France.