Medea by Eugene Delacroix

When Medea was exhibited at the Salon, the picture was generally praised. Gustave Planche wrote in the Revue du XIXe Steele, April 1, 1838: "This certainly is a picture of rare merit, perhaps the most beautiful that M. Delacroix has ever produced, for one finds in it all the qualities which he successively developed in the decoration of the Salon du Roi at the Chamber of Deputies, and in his Medea these qualities are united with the energy, the dramatic expression so ardently sought after by the artist in his earlier works and which gave the first foundation to his reputation."

La Quotidienne of March 2, 1838, stated: "The picture is striking in aspect; one feels truly moved at the sight of this demented mother with haggard eye, pale face, dry, livid mouth, palpitating flesh, and oppressed bosom. There is an admirable animation in these three figures and a vigor in the drawing and color which surprises, touches, and cancels out the one thing one might hold against Eugene Delacroix, the shadow thrown across the top of Medea's face." The critic of Le Constitutionnel, April 5, 1838, while regretting the lack of character of the principal figure, found that"... as for relief, color, the magical chiaroscuro effects, and the perfect harmony of all parts among themselves, the French school has never attained such heights; the landscape is still another merit, being touched with fire and adding much to the interest of the scene. . . ." The enthusiasm of George Sand, who was a friend of the painter's, was expressed in a letter written in April, 1838 (Correspondance, II, pp. 8-9): "I would not want to leave without saying goodbye to you, nor without speaking of your Medea, which is something magnificent, superb, heart-rending; decidedly, you are one great dauber!"