Leon Riesener 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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Louis Antoine Léon Riesener was a talented Romanticist painter and also cousin to Eugene Delacroix. The latter chose to produce this portrait painting in 1835, a year in which he produced some highly notable pieces.

Riesener was a decade younger than his cousin and showed clear signs of influence from his more famous relation. He made use of similar sources of inspiration in terms of technique and followed the likes of Titian, Veronese and Correggio, just as Delacroix had done. This resulted in similarities in their work, with both enjoying the brighter palettes that came from Venetian art of that period. The two relations would spend more time together from around the mid-1820s and so by the time of this portrait they would have been particularly close. They didn't just share family connections, but also were fairly similar in their opinions on art and how they wanted to work within their own careers. Leon himself would actually end up working in Antoine-Jean Gros's studio, giving him another impressive influence upon his career.

The portrait itself captures a young man, handsome, and well dressed. He sports a dark jacket with round black buttons which was entirely fashionable for the period. There is a small scarf around his neck as well as a white shirt underneath. The background to this painting is plain so as to avoid any distractions and Delacroix would do this in most of his shoulder length portraits. Riesener's hair is not as tidy as it might be, but he still sports rather dashing looks and seems unconcerned about looking perfect for this sitting. He may well have been relaxed whilst sat in the company of Eugene Delacroix, because they were so well known to each other and also because he was entirely knowledgeable about the process of sitting for a portrait, having painted models himself many times.

This painting was featured in Delacroix, an exhbition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2019 but is generally held in the permanent collection of the Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Peintures. Naturally, they have an extensive array of Delacroix paintings and is normally the best venue to visit for those looking to see his artwork in person for the first time. They also have a number of study drawings from right across his career which can help to teach you more about his style of working which was complex for his larger projects. This particular portrait is highly significant because of the technical qualities of it, as well as the important relationship between Delacroix and his model.