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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Delacroix’s ‘Bark of Dante’
By Charles Blanc (1813–1882)
From ‘Contemporary Artists’

AN ADMIRABLE and altogether new quality is the weird harmony of color which makes the painting vibrate like a drama; or in other words, that sombre harmony itself is the foundation of the tragedy. Lyricism is expressed by mere difference in tones, which, heightened by their contrasts and softened by their analogy, become harmonious while clashing with each other. A new poetry was born of the French school, until then so sober of color, so little inclined to avail itself of the material resources of painting. And yet the expression thus achieved by Delacroix appeals to the soul as much as to the eyes. It is not merely optical beauty, but spiritual beauty of the highest order, that is produced by his superb coloring. In this picture the young painter’s genius was revealed unto himself. He then knew that he had guessed the secret of an art which he was to carry to a perfection undreamed of before,—the orchestration of color….  1
  Delacroix was the hero of Romanticism. His life was one long revolt in the name of color against drawing, of flesh against marble, of freedom of attitude against traditionary precision. He is an essentially modern genius inflamed by the poetry of Christianity, and he added tumultuous passions and feverish emotions to the antique serenity of art.  2
  In those days youth was entirely given up to noble aspirations, to dreams of glory, to enthusiasm for beauty of expression and feeling, to an ardent love of liberty. Men were indifferent to stock quotations, but they rated spiritual values high. Mere theories inspired passion; quarrels on the subject of style and painting were common; men became enthusiastic over poetry and beauty—the ideal!  3

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