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Menacing and uncanny, Eugène Delacroix’s depiction of a contemporary blacksmith is haunted by the suggestion of an indeterminable narrative. The leader of the French Romantic school of the early 19th century, Delacroix’s works are characterised by their vivid colour, dramatic movement and passionate expression. A Blacksmith, 1833 fuses his interest in subjects from contemporary life, ancient history, and Gothic literature. Blacksmiths were a recurrent theme for Romantic artists and were commonly envisaged as a modern-day incarnation of Vulcan, the ancient Roman god of fire. Delacroix’s journal entries from 1824 include sketches for contemporary figures inspired by Michelangelo’s statuesque forms and Goya’s Los Caprichos [The Caprices], 1797-1798, and his Blacksmith is encompassed within this in its employment of dramatic transitions of black to define the blacksmith’s monumental physical and unnerving psychological presence. Flickering and shifting around him, the shadows invest him with an ominous vitality. Exuding a fearsome brute strength, Delacroix’s blacksmith is both of this world and a supernatural incarnation of dark, igneous forces.
- Un Forgeron
- Production date
- 228 x 163 mm
- Eug. Delacroix Sculp. (l.l.) Imp. Delatre, Rue St Jaques, 303 OParis (l.r.) Un Forgeron (l.c.) Paris Publie par Cadart & Luquet. Editeurs, 79 Rue Richelieu (l.c.). Verso; 2381. 8 (c) 55/272.
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
- Accession no
- No known copyright restrictions
- International Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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