Sunset, ca. 1850
Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863)
Pastel on blue laid paper, mounted on paper board; 8 1/16 x 10 3/16 in. (20.4 x 25.9 cm)
Promised Gift from the Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix, in honor of Philippe de Montebello, 2000 (L.2000.64)
Although he is best known as a painter of complex and often turbulent figural compositions, Delacroix consistently displayed sensitivity to the expressive potential of atmospheric effects. About 1850, he apparently took up a concerted study of sunlit skies and clouds reminiscent of exercises by John Constable and J. M. W. Turner, British painters he admired. This radiant Sunset, captured in richly layered pastel, has been associated with the artist's work on the ceiling decoration of the Louvre's Gallery of Apollo, where Delacroix painted the sun god appearing in a burst of golden light to drive his chariot across the sky.