This calls into question one of the key rules we learned at the New York Academy (the same tradition which originated in the French Academy)- treat every inch of the canvas as if it were the most important part."Artists who seek perfection in everything achieve it in nothing."
-The Journal of Eugene Delacroix 14 March 1858
But then, how does one create a hierarchy? If everything is painted with the same veracity, how do you communicate your ideas with the viewer? How do you create a dynamic application of paint?
It's interesting how people today see Delacroix as the epitome of tradition. Like many of the Romantics, he was truly a passionate rebel.