Throughout history artist have expressed themselves regarding the social realities of the world such as war. Compare and contrast Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People to Pablo Picasso's Guernica. How do these two artist differ in their visualization of war? How do you think today's artists would respond to the war in Iraq or Afghanistan? Are there examples you might site? How do they differ from Picasso and Delacroix?
Artists will always be responding to the effects of war, poverty, injustice and suffering in their work. Of course this is not the only role of the artist, as we see just as much beauty and experimentation as well.
Although we may not yet be seeing the work from artists in Iraq or Afghanistan yet in our museums, it does not mean that the art is not being created. As long as the topics are there, artists will be creating work to reflect the times, the emotions, and have symbols that represent the story of struggle
I have collected a few sources for your information on the 2 paintings:
These sources, put together in the format I have outlined, will make a great 2 page paper.
Liberty leading the People (90 Kb); Painted on 28 July 1830, to commemorate the July Revolution that had just brought Louis-Philippe to the French throne; Louvre.
This painting, Liberty leading the People ,which is a sort of political poster, is meant to celebrate the day of 28 July 1830, when the people rose and dethroned the Bourbon king. Alexandre Dumas tells us that Delacroix's participation in the rebellious movements of July was mainly of a sentimental nature. Despite this, the painter, who had been a member of the National Guard, took pleasure in portraying himself in the figure on the left wearing the top-hat. Although the painting is filled with rhetoric, Delacroix's spirit is fully involved in its execution: in the outstretched figure of Liberty, in the bold attitudes of the people following her contrasted with the lifeless figures of the dead heaped up in the foreground, in the heroic poses of the people fighting for liberty, there is without a doubt a sense of full participation on the part of the artist, which led Argan to define this canvas as the first political work of modern painting.
Liberty Leading the People caused a disturbance. It shows the allegorical figure of Liberty as a half-draped woman wearing the traditional Phrygian cap of liberty and holding a gun in one hand and the tricolor in the other. It is strikingly realistic; Delacroix, the young man in the painting wearing the opera hat, was present on the barricades in July 1830. Allegory helps achieve universality in the painting: Liberty is not a woman; she is an abstract force.
excerpt from p. 353-354, Humanities: The Evolution of Values by Lee A. Jacobus, copyright 1986 McGraw-Hill. (thanks to David Good.) 
Allegory helps achieve universality in the painting: Liberty is not a woman; she is an abstract force.
Picasso's great mural has been seen as the symbolic painting of the horrors of war â?" its destruction, its cruelty. The beauty of the painting, however, has another source. This mural is great, as I have learned from Aesthetic Realism in my study with its founder, Eli Siegel, because it shows, even as it takes on the cruelty and seeming non-sense in the worldâ?"that there is form, there is organization, there is something larger than man's "inhumanity to man."
" As we look at Guernica and its true message, let us look at ourselves."
Both works are about War and social change. Delacroix has a realistic style, but adds himself in the painting wearing a top hat, wearing his uniform. Liberty and Peace have not yet occurred, but one hopes. One new king does not make a better world, or a better France. In Guernica, we see even less hope. we just see the violence of war. The disjointed bodies, in their cubist form, take on the task as cyphers: anguish, pain, death. and the animal shapes are cyphers for the things that consume and destroy.
This solution compares and contrasts the depiction of War through looking at Delacroix's Liberty leading the People, and Picasso's Guernica. Here I discuss style, painter emotion, how one artist puts himself inside the painting, and one does not. I compare the affects of war on these two artists, and then I also interpret the way the paintings are organized in terms of composition.