Figure Studies for the Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon Eugene Delacroix Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This figurative study piece features a number of different compositions together on the same page, in a similar way to how Da Vinci would produce his drawings many centuries earlier.

This piece features pen strokes alone, not the usual combinations that can be found in his other drawings from the 1830s. He concentrates closely on the shape and forms of a number of different figures but leaves solid detail at a minimal level. This set of drawings was completed in 1833–35 in preparation for a commission that was received from the French state, specifically the Salon du Roi in the Palais Bourbon in Paris. At the point of this sketch, Delacroix was still searching for ideas as to how to deliver this commissioned piece and was considering working along the theme of Justice, Agriculture, Industry, and War, which all were related to the institution for which he was working.

The most famous paintings from Delacroix tend to feature figures in peril or other types of activity, always with expressions of strong emotion. He see similar poses and situations within this set of sketches, as loosely drawn characters wrestle with each other from a variety of different angles. Some have small additions of shadowing to perhaps consider the balance of lighting for the upcoming oil painting. The artist also wrote some brief notes on this sheet, underlining how he was experimenting at this time. The relatively small nature of this drawing is consistent with it being taken from a sketchbook, which would sometimes be separated into individual pages and presented individually. The animated figures are intended to be a "personification of war".

Delacroix would take on information from a number of different sources around the techniques of drawing whilst a young student. He would learn different ways of capturing the same thing and this allowed him to work freely, with his creativity explored to the maximum. He did use different tools during his career, but at this stage was biased towards the precision of pen. He felt that this accuracy would help him to put together the right forms within his sketchbooks that could then be duplicated in oils on canvas. He might sometimes then add wider brushes on top of his pen lines in order to add definition, but did not do so within these figure studies for the Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon.

Figure Studies for the Salon du Roi, Palais Bourbon in Detail Eugene Delacroix