Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix

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Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix

Painting NameLiberty Leading the People
Painter NameEugene Delacroix
Completion Date1830
Size260 cm × 325 cm (102.4 in × 128.0 in)
Current LocationLouvre Paris

Liberty Leading the People is an early 19th century painting which represents personified goddess of liberty, Marianne leading the general people of France towards freedom while stepping on the corpses. She is the central figure and looks determined towards her work.

Liberty leading the People Analysis

Painting represents around 8 prominent figures including two dead men. Everyone has their own place and meaning and their placement in the painting are according to their importance regarding to the core subject. Though, the most vital character is goddess Liberty herself.

The subject of the painting is derived from the July Revolution of France in 1830. The revolution overthrew the king Charles X.

The posture of Marianne is firm and determined. She is looking at the fellow countrymen with an encouraging face. She is holding the tricolor French flag (the same is still used today) in her one hand raising it above her head while the second hand is yielding a long rifled musket with bayonet. She is wearing the Phrygian cap.

On the left side of her is a little boy with two pistols in each hands. In his neck hangs a bag which resembles to a school-beg. Though, here it is used to carry the ammunitions. His attire resembles to the child-labors of the time.

At the feet of liberty is another boy in a revering posture to the goddess. On his left is a suited man standing with a shorter musket called Musketoon. He is wearing a Top Hat.

On the far left is a man with a sword and a shorter handgun or musketoon in his waist. He is also carrying a bag for ammunitions. His outfit resembles to the middle class. Below him is another person sneaking into the scene. He holds a small sword and looks much alerted. He wears the bicorne hat.

Two dead men at the foreground are unrecognized. Though, the man on the right is wearing the soldier’s uniform. While the body on left is half nude and unidentifiable.

Characteristics and Symbolism

The painting has become an icon in patriotism and freedom. It is represents the goddess of liberty herself leading people from different classes. Thus, she is also uniting them all against the corrupt reign. Goddess’s motherly figure and her followers being her children is shown through the bare breasts.

The need of freedom and the need of everyone’s contribution is shows through the little boy’s participation. He is not just there to encourage others, but he is active in the fight as he yields two guns. His childhood is rotten by the movement, but hides greater good in the act.

Inspirer of the Statue of Liberty

It is a known fact now that the American Statue of Liberty is a gift from France to America. The original designer was the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

It is said that he was inspired to build the statue of liberty after watching this painting and the stance of the goddess of liberty. The posture of the statue is unique though it very much resembles to the posture of goddess Marianne with the raised hand and a firm posture.

The painting has become iconic in modern art-community and is one of the most admired art work. It rests at the same place where the famous art work Mona Lisa is placed, Louvre, Paris, France.


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