Musée National Eugène Delacroix
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Library in the Palais du Luxembourg (1840–1846)

In 1840, Delacroix received a commission to decorate the cupola, the four pendants, and the hemicycle of the Palais du Luxembourg library from Adolphe Thiers, then president of the Conseil.

He was assisted by Gustave Lassalle-Bordes. The paintings on the cupola represent limbo as described by Dante. The great men of Antiquities are in the Elysian Fields, divided into four groups: Homer greeting Dante and Virgil; famous Greeks such as Alexander, Aristotle, and Plato; the poet Orpheus; the Romans Cato, Marcus Aurelius, and Trajan. The pendants under the cupola are decorated with four cameos representing Philosophy, Eloquence, Theology, and Poetry. The hemicycle above the windows depicts Alexander Placing Homer’s Poems in a Golden Chest, taken from the Persian king Darius. The groups have a perfect rhythm and are interconnected in a harmonious way. The artist was able to re-create the harmony of ancient Greece and the Renaissance, while expressing his own French genius as heir to Poussin and a precursor of the modern artists.

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