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This renowned study follows the evolution of French painting from the Revolution through the Napoleonic era. Beginning with David’s revolutionary classicism, Walter Friedlaender scrutinizes the work of early-nineteenth-century artists against the background of their times. He reveals the baroque tendencies diffused into the art of Prudhon and the same predisposition, mixed with a strong realism, in the work of Géricault.
Two distinct trends appear, deriving from Pussin and Rubens. The author follows the styles as they mature, and represents their consumation in two great masters—the refined and abstract classicism of Ingres and the baroque of Delacroix with its flamboyant colorism and exotic subjects.