Mephistopheles et Faust fuyant après le Duel (from Faust)
A trip to England in 1825 stimulated Eugène Delacroix’s interest in the works of Shakespeare. Between 1825 and 1827, he produced 17 illustrations for a French translation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, which was published by Charles Motte (1785-1836) in Paris in 1828. Here, Faust and Mephistopheles flee the scene of the duel in which Valentin, Marguerite's brother, was killed. Faust returns his sword in its scabbard while Mephistopheles holds his own sword as he urges his companion forward. He gives one final look back to the lifeless Valentin. Goethe was very pleased with the series, noting, “M. Delacroix has exceeded my own vision, and readers will find this all the more so alive and superior to what they had imagined.”1Delacroix exploits the freedom of the medium in this image. The uneven edges, various forms of hatching, and range of soft tones could be accomplished only through the sensitive vehicle of lithography.