History And Context
Horses Coming Out of the Sea, which Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix painted during the last few years of his life, is one of many canvases inspired by his travels to North Africa. This exotic journey left an indelible impression on the young Delacroix, and the numerous sketches he made during the excursion provided a rich source of motifs, which he drew upon throughout his career. Delacroix maintained, however, that he created the most successful of these scenes late in life: “I did not being to do anything passable in my African journey until the moment when I had sufficiently forgotten the small details so as to recall in my paintings only the striking and poetical aspects.
Duncan Phillips explained, “Delacroix is a perfect example of controlled energy in the art of painting, that dynamism of curvilinear design which a disciplined mind keeps curbed and poised and in classic balance, like those splendid horses of his plunging out of the sea.”