Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art

Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus (reduced replica), 1846, oil on canv
Eugène Delacroix, The Death of Sardanapalus (reduced replica), 1846, oil on canvas, 73.7 x 82.4 cm (© Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania)

Emily Spicer reviews Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art at the National Gallery, London, on view through May 22, 2016.

Spicer writes that "little more than a third of the works on display are by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). This is because this exhibition isn’t just about Delacroix, but also his influence on the 'rise of modern art'... This exhibition feels like an academic exercise without a convincing thesis. Many of the connections between Delacroix and modern art feel forced and exaggerated, as though an art history student is struggling to flesh out a tired idea about their favourite artist for an end-of-term essay. Shine new light on Delacroix, expose unknown passions and influences, and tell us about his process and innovations, but leave modern art out of it. Delacroix is relevant for many other more compelling reasons."