Three Masterpieces of Eugène Delacroix

After lengthy time of cleaning and restoration, three famous paintings from the great nineteenth-century French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) are again available for public viewing at the Church of Saint Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

The three paintings in the chapel just to the right of the main entrance of the church constitute a great treasure at the historic church. Now restored to their original grandeur, the colors and power of the scenes portrayed are more readily available. The three topics include: Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, the defeat of Satan by Michael the Archangel, and the expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple in the Jerusalem.

Justly the most famous of the three, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel is considered one of Delacroix’s most vibrant portrayals. With a backdrop of enormous trees that almost dominate the scene, Jacob is seen from behind, bared chested and well-muscled, wrestling with an angel who clasps Jacob’s left hip. The scene is recounted in Genesis and represents Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel, actually encountering God, symbolized by the angel.

Although known for his masterpieces like the iconic Liberty Leading the People (1830) and many paintings with Orientalist themes, Delacroix occasionally painted religious scenes inspired by biblical stories, of which these three at Saint Sulpice are considered exemplary.

The Society of Saint Sulpice graciously thanks all those who helped with the restoration by their generous contributions

Delacroix Self-portrait (Wikimedia Commons)