Revolution, a word that the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as “a sudden, radical, or complete change”, a word that has given workers and peasants the bravery of a thousand lions and that has scared and diminished ruling classes from big imposing figures to little doves shaking of fear. Revolution is such a big word that from the many that have over time tried to capture its essence only few have succeeded. For me the one person that has captured it the most is without any second thought Eugene Delacroix with his painting “La Liberté Guidant le Peuple” (Liberty Leading the People in English). This painting by itself is magnificent, the color in the sky and the flag, the detail in everything from everybody’s clothing to the expressions on the faces of the people are incredible. However for me what really fascinates me about it is its symbolism and the historical context beneath it. For me to describe the painting first it’s important to point out the actual size of the painting which is 102.4 in × 128.0 in, it is a large canvas normally used in romanticism for epic scenes which I would guess at first is striking. First we see a large group of people on the left side of the canvas following a feminine figure standing in an imposing way at the center of the painting leaning a little to the right of it. This feminine figure is bare breasted, has on her right hand a tricolor flag (red, white and blue) and on her left hand she has a rifle with a musket. She is standing over the rumbles of wood and stone from what we could presume was a barricade. At her left side in the background we can see a crowd with sabers, pistols and rifles marching along with her, on the middle-ground are three masculine figures, two of them are standing side by side, which one of them has laborer clothes on while the other has a suit and tall hat. On her right side we can see in the background the silhouettes of some buildings (most likely Paris due the architectonic style and historical context) from which we can see smoke coming out, in the middle-ground is a boy in a joyful stand equipped with a pistol in each of his hands. In the first plane of the painting we see laying three presumably death bodies, two of which have military uniforms still on, while the other one lies mostly unclothed only with his underwear, shirt and one sock on, all of them whose presence is diminished by the predominant feminine figure. It is important to indicate that most likely these bodies are of the people who were behind the barricade. One of the last details that caught my eye was in the middle of the painting, in the feet of the feminine figure was lying a woman obstructing its was, this woman can be seen holding the feminine figure clothing trying to stand up. All of the people in the painting, excluding the feminine figure, are seen in clothing characteristic of the XIX century. When I first saw the painting the first thing that caught my attention was the feminine figure standing in the center of the painting. This “woman” is seen leading the march of the people into the fight. She is turning her head to see the people behind her as she raises her right arm placing in the highest point in the painting the revolutionary tricolor flag (today’s French flag) while keeping her other hand in a lower level holding a rifle with a bayonet in it. It is interesting that after seeing it for a while I noticed as liberty is in the center and is holding the revolutionary flag in the highest the painting has a triangular composition. This “woman” is wearing a peplos, a yellow garment typical used by Greek women during the classical period (500 BC) leaving her bare breasted for the most part. This was at first a very strange for me to stare at. It was strange for me at the beginning to see a clear breast in the open in a painting of such a clear depth and meaning. But as you keep seeing it in some way you get the idea, the idea that she has to do that, she has to let us know that she is our mother. At first I thought she had a weird hairstyle but then it seemed obvious that she was wearing a cap, a Phrygian cap. This cap has served along the history as a symbol of freedom and liberation, and it’s identified as a characteristically part of the figure known as Marianne. The Marianne is a figure created in the middle of the XIX century as the symbol of fight for freedom; it decorates most of French government buildings as she represents the third estate in French society, the people. We can assume Delacroix took her to represent the human figure of liberty. The last thing that I got to notice from her is that she is standing barefoot, possibly as a sign of humility. Bringing all together, Delacroix’s representation of the liberty is a feminine figure leading her people, with a Phrygian cap as it relates to the figure of Marianne, a peplos representing the society that created democracy, in one hand holding a rifle to fight while in the other rising the revolutionary flag representing hope to keep that fight alive, and barefoot showing its humility. The detail and symbolism in just this feminine figure is something that never stops to fascinate me as she is the figure of power and mercy, a figure of respect and love, a figure of fight and peace; she stands for what the revolution does. As I said the tricolor flag seems to be the tip of the painting’s composition what gives it special value. The French flag that is being held by the figure of liberty, those colors, those beautiful colors seeing jump out of the canvas. This flag represent at first the colors of Paris, red and blue, and the white as a representation of the House of Bourbon in Europe, this colors stand for the French spirit for the fight for rights. An interesting thing to notice is that the flag is seen waving. Waving because of the wind of a new republic. What these different colors makes you feel and what they stand for is what really takes my breath away as if I were standing in the middle of a deep valley with giant rocks rising at my sides and the complexity of everything in front of me. We first start with the red, it makes me taste the blood and realize the fight that is taking place all around me, the bright red, seen aesthetically as a figure of strength and dominance, stand in such a way that it is just impossible not to look at it. The white, a white so pure that I couldn’t believe it is in the middle of the mud fight, in the middle of the blood and dirt, surrounded by smoke and powder, as bright as the spirit of the people behind it pushing it to lead France. Finally the blue, as a symbol of freedom and justice, a color so loyal that I can feel it protecting me with its deepness and maturity. But liberty’s march and the revolutionary flag wouldn’t mean anything if it wasn’t for the people backing it. This is showed very symbolically in the painting as liberty is shown backed by a group of people marching at her pace and direction to some place behind the painting’s perspective most likely to keep fighting. The first real person that I noticed was the boy standing at the right of the Liberty, I noticed such fierce and bravery in his face that it was hard to believe it was just a little kid. He is the representation of the new society, a new generation of French willing to fight bravely for liberation and freedom even if they can only carry two pistols at the time. The other people to notice about in the painting are the two men standing on the other side of the Liberty; these are the first men standing behind the liberty. These men are very important to how this painting fascinates me with its detail. The first time I saw the picture I only saw two men side by side, nothing more. But after a while I started to noticed some details about them, they were totally different. The man closest to the Liberty is wearing a suit, a top hat, is equipped with a rifle and have whiter skin while the man to his side is wearing an over-all, has a sable and has a darker color of skin. The traits of the first man are characteristic of the French Bourgeoisie, the middle class, while we can presume the other man is part of the working class. Though they came from different social classes they appear as brothers in the fight. The French revolution was the 95% of the population, part of the third state, against the highest classes part of the first and second state, the clergy and nobility. It didn’t matter if you were the worker and I was the boss, we were in the fight together, side-by-side. The effect of the corpses lying in the ground is very interesting for me because although they are placed in the first plain their presence is completely diminished by the figure of Liberty. The two corpses laying in the lower right part of the painting are obviously royal soldiers, killed by the rebels during the fight. However there is a third corpse in the lower left side, separated from the soldiers’ corpses. He is not wearing a uniform or really anything from what we can identify him. He represents the sacrifices that the society has to make; either soldiers or rebels both are human beings. The last human figure I was able to identify is a woman grabbing Liberty by its clothes. This woman begging the liberty to stop the fight or maybe to just help her as she was probably injured from what we get to see in the painting. This is another important representation about what the French revolution was, it was very dirt war between everyone, neighbors at one point started to point at each other to get the other one executed by the guillotine, it was a very pure movement that lived long enough to see itself become the villain. That was the French revolution, your brother begging you for mercy or help and you having just to ignore it for the greater good, the good that would benefit the most, and if your brother was not part of that most, well too bad for him because you just had to move along and continue with the fight. That was one of the things that I must remember from the painting, the look of that woman’s face of pain and disgrace just grabbing the leg of the liberty in such a way of desperation that you could feel it. All these elements put together make a very clear statement, the French revolution had many tones, ideas, as well as very thin lines between rights and wrongs. This painting is able to put all of this in the faces of the persons and in every little detail. That’s what fascinates me about it, how an image can say so much and with such strength.