Art: It's a Cruel World

When I have painted a fine picture, I haven't expressed a thought. Or so they say. What fools people are!

So wrote Eugène Delacroix, one of the 19th Century's most earnest painters. In an exhibition of Delacroix and his contemporaries at the master's old Paris studio last week, students were searching for the thoughts in some of his best works. On the surface, many of the paintings looked like mere blood & thunder illustration. Delacroix had applied his fierce imagination and brilliant, Rubensesque draftsmanship to an endless series of somber myths, tiger hunts and desert duels. His chief thought seemed to be:...

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