Delacroix och Orienten
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Delacroix and the Orient (English)
My aim of this investigation has been to study Delacroix relation to the Orient, based on a number of key questions:
- What was specific for Delacroix oriental works?
- How did his oriental painting change and mature over time?
- How was Delacroix relation to the oriental discourse?
The paper is divided into three parts: the time before his trip to Morocco in 1832, the trip to Morocco and the period after Morocco.
Although many have wanted to see Delacroix as a revolutionary, he worked the whole time within, and dialogue with, the classical tradition. In Delacroix quest for renewal of history painting, the oriental works play an important role. In the period before his trip to Morocco the literary sources dominated. He constructed his own Orient in his studio.
It is clear that Delacroix did not stood outside the oriental discourse. We see the same construction of the Orient, the same racist stereotypes and the same quest for historic authenticity as in other oriental painting from this period. But he mixes it with one, perhaps reluctant, admiration for "the other".
As a result of the French colonization of Algeria Delacroix got the chance to see the East for himself in 1832. He accompanied Count Mornay on a diplomatic mission to Morocco. Here Delacroix found a synthesis of classicism and romantic-oriental painting. He abandoned his quest for accuracy and focused on what is important in the painting, the poetic beauty, which spoke directly to the viewer.
After returning from Morocco, he turned away from the literary and historical sources for his oriental motifs and focused on his sketch books from the trip. That he focused on contemporary motifs distinguishes him from many of his contemporaries.
He painted a large number of paintings with motifs from Morocco. There are two motives which dominate: Moroccans who are fighting, and Moroccans resting in the shade. This double image of “the other” as both violent and uncontrolled, and lazy, is close to the racist stereotypes that were common in Europe.
Monumental painting became Delacroix principal focus after homecoming from Morocco. His proposal for decoration of entrance hall to the Palais Bourbon was a tribute to France's colonial mission. But in a draft of his memoirs from the trip to North Africa, he criticized the conduct of the French army in Algeria. One could interpret it as Delacroix did approve of the colonization of North Africa but baulked at its consequences. That he like many other French people wanted to enjoy the fruits of colonization, but did not want to see the human suffering it caused.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 63 p.
Delacroix, orientalism, orient
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-1439OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hgo-1439DiVA: diva2:531153
Subject / course
2012-06-01, 19:15 (Swedish)
Wängdahl, Lars, Universitetslektor
Eriksson, Johan, Universitetslektor