Eugène Delacroix is considered the most important painter of French Romanticism and a forerunner of Impressionism. He was born near Paris in 1798 into a family of diplomats. In 1815 he was employed in the atelier of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin in Paris, and in the following year he studied painting and printmaking techniques at the École des Beaux-Arts. He was especially impressed by his painter friend Théodore Géricault. In Paris Delacroix moved in intellectual circles and frequented the most noted salons. He copied old masters in the Louvre and was a great admirer of English artists. Around 1820 he received his first commissions, and in 1822 he made his debut at the Salon with his The Barque of Dante. In 1825 he visited England. His large-format painting The Death of Sardanapalus was an artistic high point. Under the influence of the July Revolution, he painted Liberty Leading the People in 1830, which was greatly admired at the 1831 Salon and immediately purchased by the French state. A trip to Spain and North Africa in 1832 left a lasting mark on his later work. For many years he reflected on his life and his art in entries made in his diaries. Delacroix died in Paris in 1863.