Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, 1830
Probably Delacroix’s best known painting, it is an unforgettable image of Parisians, having taken up arms, marching forward under the banner of the tricolor representing liberty, equality, and fraternity. The French government bought the painting but officials deemed its glorification of liberty too inflammatory and removed it from public view. Nonetheless, Delacroix still received many government commissions for murals and ceiling paintings. At the end of the reign of King Louis Philippe, Delacroix’ painting was finally put on display by the newly elected President, Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III.)
The boy holding a gun up on the right is sometimes thought to be an inspiration of the character Gavroche in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Misérables.
Oil on canvas; resides in the Musée du Louvre.