Baudelaire (Universal Exhibition (1855)) calls Delacroix "the artist most qualified to express modern woman, and above all modern woman in her heroic manifestation". As he usually was when writing about the visual arts, Baudelaire was on to something.

The women painted by Ingres, Delacroix' antithesis in the conventional view of things, are heavy-fleshed, luscious, and enticing.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres - Odalisque

Delacroix' most famous women are enticing neither in narrative context nor in execution; such beauty as they have is more in their vividness. One doesn't have to search as far as the iconographic disaster of Liberty Leading the People to see the difference. The women in The Death of Sardanapalus, made even more famous by innumerable studies of the female body

Eugene Delacroix  - The Death of Sardanapalus
  Image courtesy of Mark Harden's Artchive  

demonstrate the point well enough. In the context of this narrative, we would expect Sardanapalus' women to be symbols of sexuality. Neither the context of violent death, nor the literalness of the painting, nor the athletic but essentially slim physical type allow it. What we have been given instead is a set of studies in geometry and anatomy, a new edition of the Pollaiuolo Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.
The second painter of the New Sparta gives us not warmth, but force. Back to an admiring Baudelaire: "[a]n abundant bust, with somewhat shallow breasts, an ample pelvis, charming arms and legs." Not the implied sexuality of Ingres' beauties, but at best the aggressive fertility of a woman who has dedicated all of her power to the State.

You may find reproductions of Ingres occasionally being used as substitutes for soft-core pornography; you will almost certainly find Cabanels being used like that; I doubt that you will find Delacroix being used in that way.


Spaces, not commas, please!