Don Quixote in His Library Don Quixote in His Library

1824/Oil on canvas

40.0 x 32.0 cm

On loan

Where The Gaze Reaches: Masterpieces from the Collecition of Tokyo Fuji Art Museum

Exhibition period:03 23, 2024 (SAT)06 23, 2024 (SUN)

Chengdu Art Museum (Chengdu, China)

Use of Images


A master of Romanticism, Delacroix favored the literary works by Byron, Hugo and other writers of his time as well as the national literature of European countries, such as Dante and Shakespeare. His enormous enthusiasm responded to the world of literature where agony, rational nature, and madness are intermingling. The subject of this painting is a scene from the novel Don Quixote by Cervantes, the Spanish writer of the 17th century. The main character of this story is a squire of a village in the La Mancha province. It is the story that says: “A man is so addicted to chivalric romances that he loses his sanity, proclaims himself as Don Quixote de la Mancha, assumes a peasant girl from a neighboring village as his lady love, decides to become a knight-errant to perform meritorious deeds, and set out on adventure.” In this painting, the figure sitting at his desk on which he had a book open and indulging in dreamy thought is Don Quixote. Depicted behind him are a village priest, master Nicholas the barber and a housekeeper who are worried about him and burn his books, and the painting depicts that the three figures behind him are bewildered. In the novel Don Quixote, in fact, there is no such a scene that is depicted in this painting. The scene in this painting is a sort of the summarized opening part of this novel which is the chapters 1-6: That is, Don Quixote, who is deeply influenced by chivalric romances, embarks on a journey but eventually is brought back home. A lot of books and gears looking like knight’s arms and armor are scattered about on the floor. With his back to the figures behind him, Don Quixote seems not to care about them with his eyes wandering. The awkward movement of his left hand seems to be trying to separate his rational mind from his body. In a nearly square-shaped small picture, the mental state of Don Quixote who lost his mind is depicted exquisitely.


Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix1798-1863

List of artworks by the same artist


Exhibiton history
Origin of collections

Provenance: Placed for sale with Mme. Hulin, rue de la Paix, April 1824 ar 300 francs Prince d’Esling, his sale, March 1, 1833, no. 1 Du Sommerard, his sale, December 11, 1843, no. 23, 100 francs P. Barroihet, 1852 Arsène Houssaye, his sale, March 29, 1854, no. 63, 590 francs Bouruet-Aubertot, by 1864, his sale, February 22, 1869, no. 8, 6,850 francs Sale Liebig and Frémyn, April 8, 1875, no. 22, bought in at 6,200 francs Anonymous sale, April 28, 1883, no. 31, 2,000 francs Galerie Durand- Ruel, May 1892 Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, June 1892 Galerie Durand-Ruel, 1893 Georges Bernheim, 1920 Galerie Charpentier, Paris, December 3, 1959,no. 48, reproduced, 1,600,000 francs Nathan, Zurich Dr. Schaeffer, Germany M. Rejaee, United States Exhibited: Paris, Galerie des Beaux-Art, Explication des Ouvrages de Peintures Exposées dans la Galerie de Beaux-Arts, 1852, no.131 Paris, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts Œuvres d’Eubène Delacroix, August 13, 1864,no.127 New York, Building of the America Fine Arts Society, Loan Exhibition Febuary 1893, no. 57 Berne, Kunstmuseum, Eugene Delacroix, November 16, 1963 to January 19, 1964, no.5 Bremen, Kunsthalle, Eugene Delacroix, February 23 to April 26, 1964, no.5 Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy, Delacroix: An Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Lithographs sponsored by the Edinburgh Festival Society and arranged by the Arts Counsil of Great Britain in Association with the Royal Scottish Academy, August 15 to September 13, 1964, p.1819, no.10,pl.8


Literature: Bulletin De L’Ami Des Arts, 1945, vol. Ⅲ Anonymous, “The Loan Exhibition at the Fine Arts Building,”The Art Amateur, April 1893, vol. ⅩⅩⅧ, no.5, p.126 Théophile Silverstre, Histoire des Artistes Vivants, Paris 1855, p.80 A. Moreau, E. Delacroix et son Œuvre, Paris 1873, p. ⅩⅩ Alfred Robaut, L’ Œuvre, Complet de Eugène Delacroix, Peintures, Dessins, Gravures, Lithographies, Paris 1885, p.43, no.138 Maurice Tourneux, Eugène Delacroix devant desContemporains, ses Ecrits, des Biographes, ses Critiques, Paris 1886, P.140 Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, Delacroix Raconté par Lui-Même ,Paris 1916, vol.Ⅰ, p.59, fig.31 Raymond Escholier, Delacroix, Peinture, Grveur, Ecrivain, Paris 1926, vol.Ⅰ, p.96 (illus.)


You can search and browse content on a platform across museums and archival institutions nationwide, and create My Gallery (online exhibition).

You can view the work in High-resolution.