The painting masterpieces you must see once in your life



Liberty Leading the People


Artwork Details

Le 28 juillet 1830. La Liberté guidant le peuple
Oil, canvas
260 cm × 325 cm
© Creative Commons

why we love it

This is perhaps the first political painting of modern art. Delacroix depicts the Parisian revolt of 1830, not the French Revolution of 1789 as is often mistakenly believed, but the work has become a universal symbol of freedom and revolution. It captures a pivotal moment in French history, symbolizing the fight for freedom and the spirit of revolution.

The figure of Liberty, with the Phrygian cap and the French tricolor flag of the new regime, baring her chest because she is free, has become a symbol of rebellion and an enduring emblem of the French Republic. This includes contemporary anecdotes such as Facebook’s censorship of the painting for showing a breast, though Mark Zuckerberg’s company reversed the decision a month later.

Delacroix included a possible self-portrait in the painting, signifying his personal connection to the revolutionary ideals. This personal touch adds depth to the painting, making it not just a historical record but also a statement of the artist’s beliefs. It is thought that the bourgeois man in the top hat is a self-portrait of Delacroix, capturing his fighting spirit, although it seems that what the artist actually did at that time was save the paintings of the Louvre rather than fight.

“Liberty Leading the People” demonstrates the power of painting not only to impress and move people but also to become a symbol of an era. Its iconic imagery, particularly the figure of Liberty with the tricolor flag, has been widely reproduced and referenced in popular culture.

This is just our small bit, let your curiosity do the rest.
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