Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading The People...
Scott Colothan
11:53 28th April 2008

Today is an exciting day for Coldplay fans around the globe; not only have they confirmed free shows in London and New York, but they’ve also unveiled the album artwork to ‘Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends.’

The band have used a classic painting by French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix from 1830 called ‘Liberty Leading The People’ (La Liberté guidant le people).

It depicts a woman personifying Liberty in the French Revolution leading the army in their march over dead bodies holding the French tricolour flag aloft.

It’s currently on display in The Louvre in Paris.

Coldplay aren’t the first band to use the image on an album cover. In 1999 Japanese rock outfit Dragon Ash parodied the cover on the sleeve to their album ‘Viva La Revolution.’

Click below to see a history of Coldplay sleeves:

  • 2000: ‘Parachutes’ - The band’s debut featured their globe which Coldplay took on tour with them during their early days. Taken by the band using a basic Kodak camera, it made for a highly poignant cover. The band claim they bought the globe for £10 from WHSmiths, making this surely one of the cheapest album covers of all time.

  • 2002: ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’ – Considered by many as Coldplay’s finest album, the artwork features a computer generated graphic image, variants of which were used on the singles the album spawned. Perhaps not their greatest sleeve.

  • 2005: ‘X & Y’ – The band drafted in the Chemical Brothers designers Tappin Gofton for this cryptic sleeve. Using the Baudit Code – an alphanumeric cipher – the sleeve depicts the words ‘X’ and ‘Y’ in lovely colourful blocks. It baffled many.

  • 2008: ‘Viva La Vida’ – as above, the band used a classic painting by French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix from 1830 called ‘Liberty Leading The People’ (La Liberté guidant le people). Perhaps, this reflects their political intentions.