France #1054 stamp issued March 2, 1963
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel (1861)
by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Church of Saint-Sulphice, Paris
Homage to Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix painted with bold strokes of red,
portraying scenes of passion many would dread.
Surprising the Salon critics with a jolt,
valiantly you led the romantic revolt.
Without any fanfare or artistic stunt,
with realism you produced
The Lion Hunt.
Asked by Dumas to paint at his costume ball,
you arrived so late to the surprise of all.
In a flash like torrents of a waterfall,
you splashed a classic battle scene on the wall.
Finishing this tour de force in two hours time,
that sunset skyline was splendidly sublime.
filled with insights on every page,
you were a true champion of the classical age.
Dante and Goethe you would read and absorb
while tuning to nature and the heavenly orbs.
With boundless energy and a burning vision,
illumining your work with learned precision.
I admire your murals here at Saint-Sulphice,
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel gives me bliss.
Abandoned by friends, Jacob is left all alone
struggling with a power greater than his own
until he received blessings which he deserved
seeing God face to face, his life was preserved.
Now I come to your studio in Fürstenberg Square
offering you well wishes and a peaceful prayer
O Delacroix, few artists have achieved the goal
that you've mastered in painting the human soul.
Peter Y. Chou