Musée National Eugène Delacroix
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Library in the Palais Bourbon

Minister Adolphe Thiers had already asked Eugène Delacroix to paint the Salon du Roi in the Palais Bourbon, from 1833 to 1838.

He received a commission to decorate the library on 31 August 1838, yet it was not completed until 1847, as he had so much work elsewhere. He hired two assistants, Gustave Lassalle-Bordes (1815-1886) and Louis de Planet (1814-1876). The library has two hemicycles separated by five bays topped with domes, each of which has four pendants - for a decorative project comprising twenty hexagonal pendants and two hemicycles. He selected the themes of History, Philosophy, Legislation, Theology, and Poetry for the cupolas. He portrayed Peace with Orpheus’s Gift of Civilization to Mankind, and the War With Attila’s Destruction of Italy.

The Musée Delacroix has a model for the Orpheus hemicycle made by Delacroix. The paintings present a coherent overall unity which proves that Delacroix oversaw every detail of the work, and form "one of the most complete and most striking decorative ensembles, and one in which France can be proud" (M. Sérullaz).

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