Professor Joyce C. Polistena, Ph.D. Explores the work and controversial life of the “hero of romance”


The French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix is ​​best known to Americans for his painting, La Liberté aux barricades (1830). His innovative color theory and intensely felt subject matter earned him the title “Hero of Romanticism”. However, the artist’s prolific and extraordinary contributions to the genre of religious art had been overlooked for over a century. The New Canaan Library welcomes Joyce C. Polistena, Ph.D., professor of art history and author of The Religious Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: The Initiator of the Style of Modern Religious Art, for an insightful look at the religious art of Delacroix: the broad body of work, and the artist’s personal perceptions and conflicting views on religion. The live webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00 PM EST; please register at to connect to Zoom.

Joyce C. Polistena, Ph.D. is an art historian and professor of art history at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She has written extensively on subjects of 19th century Romanticism, in particular on the artist Eugène Delacroix. Polistena’s book, The Religious Paintings of Eugène Delacroix: The Originator of the Style of Modern Religious Art, sparked a new engagement with his religious subjects. Barthélémy Jobert, eminent Delacroix scholar and president of the University of Paris-Sorbonne, explained the importance of Delacroix’s religious subjects in the foreword to his book: “…we need a new approach and renewed questions about one of the most important and complex works of the entire 19th century and of the entire history of art in the West…Joyce Polistena has masterfully taken up the challenge…”


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