Born to Victorie Delacroix and the diplomat and statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord. His early education was at the Lycee Imperial. In 1816 he began to study painting under Pierre Guerin at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he received a formal classical training in the manner of David. Delacroix's eclectic interests extended beyond the academic study of works by Michelangelo, Rubens, Veronese, and Tintoretto at the Louvre, to being influenced by the romantic poets of his time like Byron, as well as Dante, Shakespeare, medieval history, and the Orient. His debut at the Salon of 1822 with the painting The Bark of Dante (Paris, Musee du Louvre) established Delacroix as one of the leading artists of French romanticism. He traveled to England in 1825 with his close friend Richard Parkes Bonington to study the use of color in the paintings of such artists as Sir Thomas Lawrence, William Etty, and Sir David Wilkie. During his stay he also filled many sketchbooks with studies of antiquities and animals. In 1832 he accompanied the Comte de Mornay to Morocco, Algiers, and southern Spain, creating many vividly colored works of North Africa and its exotic peoples.