(b. 1798, Charenton-Saint-Maurice, d. 1863, Paris)
Sketch for Peace Descends to Earth1852
Oil on canvas, 77,7 x 55,1 cm
Musée de Petit Palais, Paris
The success of the Apollo had taken Delacroix somewhat unaware; he was not used to a favourable critical consensus. He made the most of it by applying for and obtaining the commission to decorate one of the Salons of the new Hotel de Ville. This was to be his last work of non-religious monumental painting. It is also the only one not to have survived; it perished when the town hall burnt down during the Commune in 1871. Of the two Salons of this new building, the north facing Salon de la Paix fell to Delacroix; the south salon was commissioned from Ingres. We know little about Delacroix's scheme of decoration, only that it took him two years of what he described as "titanic" labours. We also know that the room was very badly illuminated and that he had to rework the tonality of his entire composition.
All that remains today are some sketches and a certain number of preparatory drawings. The ceiling was to have been occupied by a huge allegory. Peace Descends to Earth, of which nothing has survived but a sketch.