Delacroix
Delacroix

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Delacroix

4.4 Revealing the inner being – exercise

Exercise 4

Read the following extract (dating from May 1824) from Delacroix’s journal. From 1822, following Rousseau’s tradition of self-confession, Delacroix kept a diary in which he expressed his views on himself and on his art. It was not published until 1893–5. What view does Delacroix express here about revealing one’s inner being in art?

What torments my soul is its loneliness. The more it expands among friends and the daily habits or pleasures, the more, it seems to me, it flees me and retires into its fortress. The poet who lives in solitude, but who produces much, is the one who enjoys those treasures we bear in our bosom, but which forsake us when we give ourselves to others. When one yields oneself completely to one’s soul, it opens itself completely to one, and then it is that the capricious thing allows one of the greatest of good fortunes … that of sympathizing with others, of studying itself, of painting itself constantly in its works, something that Byron and Rousseau have perhaps not noticed. I am not talking about mediocre people: for what is this rage, not only to write, but to be published? Outside of the happiness of being praised, there is that of addressing all souls that can understand yours, and so it comes to pass that all souls meet in your painting.

(Pach, 1938, p.89)

Discussion

An artist who ‘yields’ to his soul may express it in his art and hence communicate with other ‘souls that can understand yours’. This is, however, best achieved (paradoxically) from a position of solitude. (Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder had a similar insistence on the separation of aesthetic experience from everyday life.) Effective expression of one’s inner being is dependent on the adequate understanding of others.

A207_6

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus