Eugène Delacroix, the greatest of the French Romantic painters, was born on April 26, 1798. His most famous painting is the monumental La Liberté guidant le peuple, see Vouloir, c’est pouvoir. It’s an allegory of the French people resisting in the face of oppression. Shortly after the success of this painting, he traveled to Morocco as part of a French delegation. He was thirsting for a life more exotic than what he experienced in Paris. He was fascinated by all aspects of life in North Africa and it became the subject of over 100 paintings. He died in 1863 and is buried in Père Lachaise. The portrait of Delacroix here is a photograph by Félix Nadar.
Delacroix was a prolific journal writer and many quotable quotes are drawn from his entries. Today’s expression, un objet parfaitement beau comporte un parfait simplicité (uhn obshay parfetmehn bow comport uhn parfeh samplicitay) means “perfect beauty implies perfect simplicity.” I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or the zeitgeist, but Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, which contains the famous exhortation “Simplify, simplify!,” was published in 1854, the same year that Delacroix wrote this entry.