Main Characters and Elements

In order to make sense of the various deconstructions, perhaps a brief introduction to the main characters would prove useful. There are also "hybrid" characters, that is, characters who are created from manipulating one of the main characters below. To keep things brief here, these hybrid characters will be explained when they occur. (A background introduction to Delacroix's work itself can be found here.)

1. Liberty

The bare-chested lady is a fictitious character obviously that many people see as the symbol of the French Republic known as La Marianne. I mostly use the figure without the flag allowing the raised first to serve as a symbol of defiance. Because La Marianne is depicted while rushing forward, her right foot cannot be seen as it is raised and is hidden behind her long robe.  


2. The Educated Rebel

Delacroix wanted to show all classes took part in the 1830 revolution, and that liberty not class were the main motive for the participants. This is reflected in the depiction of the rebels ad hw they were dressed. Here, we clearly have a representation of an educated rebel. Some critics believe this figure represents Delacroix himself. The missing limbs are simply hidden from view in the original painting. 


3. Sword-Wielding Rebel:

This is obviously a working class rebel. Again, the limbs are simply hidden from view in the original work. 


4. The Mercurial Rebel:

This rebel was depicted in the background, standing right behind the previous two and looking straight at us, or so it seems. There's something about his stare that's quite captivating, and alarming. What's going in his minds? Regrets? schemes?


5. Rebel Constructing a Barricade: 

Or is he simply leaning to pick up one of the cobblestones used in the construction of this haphazard barricade?


6. The Dying Rebel:

This rebel found crouching next to the feet of La Marianne looking at her with love and longing, is actually wounded, probably mortally so. In the original painting, we can actually see the blood pooling under him on light colored cobblestones.  To me, however, it's the longing in his eyes that captures his story more than anything.


7. The Young Rebel:

This is lad is believed to be the inspiration behind Victor Hugo's Gavroche. Enough said.


8. The Martyr:

This rebel seems to have been dragged from his home while in his night gown and was killed by regular soldiers. His legs are resting on the stones of the barricade in the original painting. By removing these stones, he seems to be floating. He is a true martyr figure.  


9. Dead Soldiers:

In violent revolutions, rebels are not the only getting killed. Soldiers, too, regardless of what one may think of them and their cause, are also killed. In fact, the bottom half of Delacroix's work shows us a kind of Brotherhood of the Dead. Indeed, the features of both dead soldiers are drawn with the same care shown to the martyred rebel, if not more so. 



10. The Bird

With this figure, we begin wading into the more exotic dimension of the deconstruction. The Bird, which often represents Fate in ancient mythology, Greek and Arab, is clearly composed of the legs of the Martyr. This is clearly intentional. 


11. Revolution:

In my deconstructions, this symbol, constructed from the defiant flag-carrying arm of La Marianne, is used as a stand-in for the Sun, or the stars. It's meant to remind us that the scene being captured is taking place within the context of an unfolding revolution. 


12. The Water-Wheel:

The fight for liberty is premised on the willingness of one to risk their own lives and liberty even to the point to sacrificing themselves. Revolution, Giving, Sacrifice, Dying, Rising, Nourishing - the concept of the water-wheel or Noria, is meant to capture all this. 


13. Blind Fate:

The darker side of revolution entails being devastated, trampled upon in fact, by the forces of chaos unleashed and the agents of chaos empowered by the revolutionary processes. This construction is meant to capture that. 


14. The Cathedral: 

The towers of Notre Dame, and the surrounding buildings are shown in the background of Delacroix's original painting, engulfed in smoke and dust as a result of the ongoing battle. In my deconstructions, the cathedral often morph into something more ominous - a fortress of some sort perhaps, or, on other occasions, some official government bureaucratic institution around which the protesters and soldiers are gathering. 




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