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La Victoire de Samothrace, Unknown, 190 BC

Liberty Leading the People

Delacroix

1831

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This is our final stop on our tour of the Louvre!

Liberty Leading the People is one of France's most famous paintings.

It's also mentioned in almost every French history book.

Many people think the painting represents the Revolution of 1789.

But it actually represents the Revolution of 1830 (the July Revolution) - which deposed King Charles X and ushered in a new, more liberal, constitutional monarchy.

Delacroix was personally close to the deposed king.

But he was also fascinated by the energy and ideals of the revolution.

Abandoning the tradition of painting historical subjects, he chose to represent the Parisian barricades - a contemporary and controversial subject.

The painting's dominant colors are those of the Revolution - blue, white and red.

Its strong lines draw our eyes to the flag, the symbol of hope and patriotism.

The painting also represents different social classes coming together - which was very controversial at the time.

Initially bought by the government, it was returned to Delacroix out of fear that it would spark political unrest.