Liberty Leading the People 🗽 by Eugène Delacroix (1830)


The Romanticism of the late 1800s pours through the passion depicted in Delacroix’s  painting of the French Revolution. Personified as a woman holding a weapon and her flag, Ms. Liberty soars above a warring man, bringing peace to people from all walks of life.

On display in one of the Louvre’s great halls, this painting caught my attention because of its passion. The emotion in the people, the woman and the situation call for you to stop and stare. Not to mention, the painting is also quite large. Like the Statue of Liberty (which it inspired), the painting beckons your attention, guides your eye and inspires a seasons of hope & freedom.

Living in NYC, I often see my Laady Liberty shackled and trying to light her way through the dark. I find the original painting much more vibrant and inspiring. Perhaps I find there is more positive feeling and emotion in the artwork because of all of the colors used. The painting is also said to have inspired the play Les Miserables. I ‘ve never seen the play (adds to list) but the poster image seems very sad as well. Delacroix’s version seems to be the most positive — while the people are fighting, Lady Liberty seems to rise above them all and makes you feel like they’re winning the fight.

The most bizarre part of the painting is that she’s topless. Is she truly “baring it all”? Has she been ravaged? (What is ravaged an anyway? Lol Sounded real old-tiny and appropriate). I’m also not sure of who the good or bad guys are… is that on purpose? There are men dressed in army clothes, street clothes and fancy clothes. It seems everyone is fighting. There are many dead/wounded and even one guy looking up at Lady Liberty as if she might save him. It is surely a chaotic scene.

Which inspired version of Lady Liberty do you like? Or do you prefer the original? Let me know your thoughts below!

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