Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, more commonly known as Eugene Delacroix, was born in a commune in the suburbs called Charenton-Saint-Maurice, in the southeastern Paris Regions, also known as Île-de-France, on 1798. The young Delacroix was left orphan after his mother passed away in 1814 when he was only sixteen, and his father had passed in 1805. He began his education in prestigious French schools, and while studying in Rouen, at the Lycée Pierre Corneille, a state secondary school, his talents for drawing were already being recognized as he received awards. A year after his mother’s death, Delacroix began his formal training under Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, who taught him the Neo-Classical style, inspired by Jacques-Louis David. By this period, the artist was also influenced by the Renaissance master Raphael as well as the Baroque painter, Rubens. But it was through his contemporary, Theodore Gericault, that the artist came in contact with Romanticism - which Delacroix would eventually become the main painter of the French Romanticist school.
In 1822, Delacroix hit his first major career milestone, as his masterpiece The Barque of Dante was accepted by the most important art show in Europe, the Paris Salon. About three years later, the artist was working with lithographic prints - a media that allowed a more extensive distribution of his work - creating illustrations for literature, like for works of Shakespeare and Goethe. The French artist also took a trip to England, where he met with painters like Richard Parkes Bonington and Thomas Lawrence, who influenced his work. Not only did Delacroix paint on canvas, but he also produced large mural paintings in many locations. His expressive take on painting would eventually inspire the avant-guard Impressionist movement, with painters like Renoir and Manet copying his work, as well as the Symbolists. The painter Edgar Degas, born about 36 years later, purchased the portrait of Baron Schwiter. In 1830, Delacroix painted his most celebrated work, and one of the most famous paintings in history; Liberty Leading the People. This masterpiece shows how the artist was able to set himself apart from the Neo-Classical style of Ingres, and portray a revolutionary period in French history with a Romantic viewpoint.
By the 1830s, Delacroix continued portraying dramatic and Romanticized themes and wishing to keep away from the classic routs of the Academy - which emphasized ancient Greek and Roman art. He decided to travel in search of new motifs for his art in North Africa, wishing to see different cultures and during his visit he produced more than one hundred artworks portraying his view of the country. Many other artists of this time also found inspiration in cultures of the Orient, a movement that became known as Orientalism. Although Delacroix took a more Modern route to his artistic production, he is considered one of the last classic masters of painting, along with Ingres. By the end of 1862, the artist was struggling to make it through the winter, as his throat was infected. He was aware of the state of his health and wrote a will before his death. Delacroix passed away in August of the next year, at the age of 65, in Paris, France.