What do you see?

This painting, Liberty Leading the People, was painted by Eugene Delacroix in 1830. It depicts a victorious view of the French Revolution with Lady Liberty holding the French flag. I’ve seen this painting several times and even had the opportunity to view it in person, and I’m always captivated by the symbolism and freedom that it seems to emit. It’s really moving. I think that it represents Schiller’s idea of combining sensual and intellectual aspects of art: it evokes a feeling of liberation while also being intellectually stimulating in capturing key symbols of the French Revolution. At a quick glance, it seems that there’s a woman holding the French flag with various men following her and brandishing firearms. The symbolism can be interpreted in how the leader is a female, in which Delacroix purposefully personifies liberty as a female, rather than a male. Another interesting aspect of the artwork is the representation of different social classes, where you can see how there’s a man in fancier clothing (tophat!) and a boy dressed in more casual attire. From this perspective, you can see that there’s more to the painting than meets the eye.

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