About this artwork
Although Eugène Delacroix did not visit North Africa until 1832, he began painting Romantic-Orientalist canvases early on in his career. In this colorful scene inspired by a poem from Lord Byron’s Oriental Tales, the artist employed jewel-like colors to describe the shimmering, gold-braided vest and billowy clothing of the central figures. These details contrast with the violent action of the Christian giaour (a Turkish term for infidel), who avenges himself against a Muslim warrior. Delacroix’s French audience would have been receptive to his choice of exotic costuming and weaponry. Far from accurately representing the attire of the 17th-century combatants described in Byron’s poem, Delacroix drew upon styles worn by the Turko-Eygptian Mameluke warriors during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaign in Egypt in 1798–99.
- Eugène Delacroix
- The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan
- Oil on canvas
- 59.6 × 73.4 cm (23 1/2 × 28 7/8 in.)
- Gift of Bertha Palmer Thorne, Rose Movius Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Wood, and Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Palmer