The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


No doubt you queued in the rain from the crack of dawn to buy the new Coldplay album, 'Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends'. Or maybe you just ignored it.

Viva La Vida by ColdplayEither way, perhaps you noticed the album's cover (right), which reproduces a very famous French painting. As you've no doubt shouted at the computer, it's Delacroix's 'Liberty Leading the People', otherwise known as 'Liberty Getting 'Em Out for the Lads'.

The painting, from 1830, commemorates that year's overthrowing of Charles X, king of France under the Bourbon restoration. It depicts an idealised barricade scene from the French Revolution of 1789. (The dapper-looking rebel with top hat and bayonet is believed to be Delacroix himself.)

You can see this painting at the Louvre in Paris. It hangs in a grand hall of oversized French classics just around the corner from the Mona Lisa, probably the most famous painting in the world.

Rum, Sodomy And The Lash by The PoguesOn the same wall as Delacroix's famous barricade scene is another iconic French masterpiece that has been used on an album cover. We're talking about Géricault's 'Raft of the Medusa', which was used by The Pogues for the sleeve of "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash". We hasten to add that the original painting doesn't feature the heads of the band.

While Delacroix's painting is a bit naff to modern viewers (much like Coldplay), Géricault's great work is still immensely powerful in its depiction of human forms twisted in agony.

There's a connection between 'Raft of the Medusa' and our other featured painting. Delacroix was the model for the young man slumped on his legs in the left foreground. (On the album cover, he's just over the word "The" of "The Pogues".)

Both Géricault and Delacroix are buried in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, famous as the resting place of Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde.

Have you been to the Louvre? If you've visited Paris as a tourist, perhaps you've dashed through in one afternoon to see the greatest hits: the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. It takes a full afternoon's brisk walk just to see all the paintings; the sculptures, Egyptology and other artefacts are each another day's work.

Fortunately for those of us who live in Paris, the Louvre is open for free on the first Sunday of every month. So, we can just stroll in and take the great museum one section at a time. The other major galleries of Paris, such as the Musée d'Orsay and the Centre Pompidou, are also free on the first Sunday. We've said it before; life here is good.

From the Louvre-referencing 'Rum, Sodomy And The Lash', here's a very '80s-London video for one of The Pogues' own masterpieces, 'A Pair Of Brown Eyes': 

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Nuggets from our archive

2002 - Interview with Rodrigo y Gabriela, by Cormac Looney. As with Damien Rice's profile, this interview was published before Rodrigo y Gabriela's career took off overseas. It too continues to attract considerable visits every month to the article from Wikipedia.