According to Frédéric Villot, a close friend of the artist and the original owner of this painting, the dramatically lit study of a woman's head swathed in red was painted by lamplight. More recently it has been suggested that the study was modelled on Pauline, Villot's wife, with whom Eugène Delacroix was enamoured. The vigorous treatment exemplifies the influence of Rubens on the work of the important nineteenth-century French painter. Although it does not relate to any finished composition, it may have been made as part of the artist's preparations for 'The Death of Sardanapalus' (Louvre), considered a key manifesto of the Romantic movement.
Where to see this painting?
Bristol Museum & Art Galley
Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol, England, BS8 1RL
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.