Eugène Delacroix, fully Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

Delacroix, fully Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

French Romantic Artist regarded as the leader of the French Romantic School

Author Quotes

Experience has two things to teach. The first is that we must correct a great deal and the second, that we must not correct too much.

The more I think about color, the more convinced I become that this reflected half-tint is the principle that must predominate, because it is this that gives the true tone, the tone that constitutes the value, the thing that matters in giving life and character to the object. Light, to which the schools teach us to attach equal importance and which they place on the canvas at the same time as the half-tint and shadow, is really only an accident. Without grasping this principle, one cannot understand true color, I mean the color that gives the feeling of thickness and depth and of that essential difference that distinguishes one object from another.

For his contemporaries, Racine was a romantic, but for every age he is classical, that is to say, he is faultless.

The Natural History Museum is open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays. Elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus; extraordinary animals! Rubens rendered them marvellously. I had a feeling of happiness as soon as I entered the place and the further I went the stronger it grew. I felt my whole being rise above commonplaces and trivialities and the petty worries of my daily life.

He [Titian] is the least mannered and consequently the most varied of artists. Mannered talents have but one bias, one usage only. They are more apt to follow the impulse of the hand than to control it. Those that are less mannered must be more varied, for they continually respond to genuine emotion.

The so-called conscientiousness of the great majority of painters is nothing but perfection laboriously applied to the art of being boring.

I believe it safe to say that all progress must lead, not to further progress, but finally to the negation of progress, a return to the point of departure.

The source of genius is imagination alone. . . the refinement of the senses that sees what others do not see, or sees them differently.

I live in company with a body, a silent companion, exacting and eternal. He it is who notes that individuality which is the seal of the weakness of our race. My soul has wings, but the brutal jailer is strict.

There is no merit in being truthful when one is truthful by nature, or rather when one can be nothing else; it is a gift, like poetry or music. But it needs courage to be truthful after carefully considering the matter, unless a kind of pride is involved; for example, the man who says to himself, "I am ugly," and then says, "I am ugly" to his friends, lest they should think themselves the first to make the discovery.

In every art we are always obliged to return to the accepted means of expression, the conventional language of the art. What is a black-and-white drawing but a convention to which the beholder has become so accustomed that with his mind's eye he sees a complete equivalent in the translation from nature?

They say that truth is naked. I cannot admit this for any but abstract truths; in the arts, all truths are produced by methods which show the hand of the artist.

Mediocre people have an answer for everything and are astonished at nothing. They always want to have the air of knowing better than you what you are going to tell them; when, in their turn, they begin to speak, they repeat to you with the greatest confidence, as if dealing with their own property, the things that they have heard you say yourself at some other place. A capable and superior look is the natural accompaniment of this type of character.

To be a poet at twenty is to be twenty: to be a poet at forty is to be a poet

Music is what feelings sound like.

We are told that Shakespeare's plays were generally performed in barns and that no great trouble was taken over the production. The constant changes of scene which, incidentally, seem the sign of a decadent art rather than one which is progressing, were shown by placards with the inscription: "A Forest," "A Prison," and so on. Within this conventional setting the onlooker's imagination was free to follow the actions of the various characters who were animated by passions drawn from nature, and that was enough for him. So-called innovations are gratefully seized on as an excuse for poverty of invention and in the same way, the long descriptive passages that so overburden modern novels are a sign of sterility, for it is obviously easier to describe a dress or the outward appearance of an object than to trace the subtle development of a character or portray the emotions of the heart.

Mythological subjects always new. Modern subjects difficult because of the absence of the nude and the wretchedness of modern costume.

We should not allow ourselves to believe that writers like Poe have more imagination than those who are content with describing things as they really are. It is surely easier to invent striking situations in this way than to tread the beaten track which intelligent minds have followed throughout the centuries.

Nature creates unity even in the parts of a whole.

Weaknesses in men of genius are usually an exaggeration of their personal feeling; in the hands of feeble imitators they become the most flagrant blunders. Entire schools have been founded on misinterpretations of certain aspects of the masters. Lamentable mistakes have resulted from the thoughtless enthusiasm with which men have sought inspiration from the worst qualities of remarkable artists because they are unable to reproduce the sublime elements in their work.

A taste for simplicity cannot endure for long.

Nature is a dictionary; one draws words from it.

Commonplace people have an answer for everything and nothing ever surprises them. They try to look as though they knew what you were about to say better than you did yourself, and when it is their turn to speak, they repeat with great assurance something that they have heard other people say, as though it were their own invention.

Ordinary people think that talent must be always on its own level and that it arises every morning like the sun, rested and refreshed, ready to draw from the same storehouse -- always open, always full, always abundant -- new treasures that it will heap up on those of the day before; such people are unaware that, as in the case of all mortal things, talent has its increase and decrease, and that independently of the career it takes, like everything that breathes... it undergoes all the accidents of health, of sickness, and of the dispositions of the soul -- its gaiety or its sadness. As with our perishable flesh, talent is obliged constantly to keep guard over itself, to combat, and to keep perpetually on the alert amid the obstacles that witness the exercise of its singular power.

Curiously enough, the Sublime is generally achieved through want of proportion.

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Delacroix, fully Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix
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French Romantic Artist regarded as the leader of the French Romantic School