Citizens, take up your arms!

You may have already seen this famous painting before. Do you know the story behind it?

In a single image, the painter Eugène Delacroix wanted to capture the second French Revolution that happened in 1830. This is the decisive moment of victory for the Revolutionaries. A woman holding a French flag crosses over a barricade.  She is not an actual person but a symbol of Liberty. She leads the way for the rebels. Do you see the fancy fellow with his top hat?  How about the workman with his beret and apron? Everyone is united despite their differences.

Look at the child standing to the right of Liberty.

With his beret and oversized clothing, he can’t be more than 12 years old. And yet, he is the first one to cross over the barricade, with Liberty at his side. He is waving pistols around and seems to stare right at the viewers.  

This boy, invented by Delacroix, is thought to have inspired Victor Hugo to create a character in his novel Les Misérables: Gavroche, a bold and brave street urchin.
Do you want to learn more about the Revolution of 1830 and this painting by Eugène Delacroix?

Video transcription

Eugène Delacroix

28th July 1830. Liverty guiding the People

Oil on canvas

Room 700