Eugène Delacroix, prisoner of the Eastern epics

Sharjah: Aladdin Mahmoud

In the drawings of the French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) we discover an astonishing ability to express artistic and aesthetic, to the point of genius, and it is not surprising that the man the founder and pioneer of the romantic trend is not. , and its gigantic works today, which are still in great demand, adorn the Louvre Museum in France, in addition to a number of international art institutions, the most important of which is “The Death of Sarda Nabeul,” “The Chios Massacre.” and “Freedom Leads the People,” which is an image of the national spirit and the French Revolution and its symbol, in addition to his works in which he dealt with aspects of Arab life. In Morocco, such as “horses fighting in the stable” and others.

The works of Eugène Delacroix have received great praise from critics who have described his works as distinguished by the diversity of their ideas and themes; Since some of them are about ancient epics and legends, others depict battles between the Turks and Greeks, and others are inspired by literary works such as the poems of Shakespeare, Goethe, Byron and the worlds of Homer, the author of the “Iliad” . and “The Odyssey.” Characterized by the ability to express movement loaded with emotions, which placed him at the head of the Romantic school in France without a close rival.

Travel and inspiration

In 1832, Delacroix was on a date with a new history and a turning point in his artistic life, when he traveled to Morocco on a French diplomatic mission; Where he spent about 6 months, which was enough to provide him with inspiration and brilliance and to renew his creative subjects, he discovered a new and different world, customs and social life that left him with a sense of surprise. and filled in beauty, especially the the artist wanted so badly to get away from the life of Paris through an adventure that provided him with everything new, and that is what he found. In Morocco, he went straight to observing that different reality through hundreds of paintings, most of which he drew with charcoal and watercolor.The moment of his death in his native France, 31 years after that strange journey; Delacroix believed that the Maghreb and North Africa, with its rich heritage and ancient traditions, were the visual equivalent of the classical culture of the ancient peoples of Greece and Rome, and although the subjects of an Arab and Oriental character were not absent in the man’s work before coming to the East, that visit or journey made him directly acquainted with reality instead of imagining it, and therefore he produced many of the great works that filled his artistic career, including: “Tangier”, “Lion Hunt”, “Moroccan saddles his horse”, and many creations preserved by various international museums, and the important remark is that Delacroix was fascinated by the wildness and brutality from the beginning of his painting career of animals, and he was always interested in horses in particular and their bloody conflicts between them, something he saw during his visit to the Maghreb; between each other, and depicted their struggle with people, was the theme of “conflict”, one of his most important artistic themes.


Delacroix painted, inspired and inspired a painting “Arabian horses fighting in the stable” in 1860 through his journey to North Africa and the Arab West. The stable’s guards intervened to stop their fight, and the painter excelled in depicting the timeliness and kinetics of the conflict between the two raging animals; The genius was evident in the capture and observation of the circular motion and the dancing rhythm of the two animals, representing the seemingly endless struggle, the idea on which many of Delacroix’s paintings are based; Where the form can not be separated from the content, and we notice in the painting those strong contrasts of light and shadow and the application of harsh colors, which deepen the feeling of the ferocity and violence of the conflict between horses.

That painting expressed a great love for the artist with horses, and in fact, Delacroix was strongly attracted to the observation of wild animals such as tigers, lions and leopards, and before going to Morocco, he visited Paris. visit the zoo to view and paint the zoo. animals there, but his greatest love was for horses; Where the horse for him embodies the artist’s constant search for glory and rise to fame, as it symbolizes those values ​​that man seeks, and he only satisfied his love for horses after his visit to Morocco.


Delacroix once emphasized the importance of his fascination with drawing scenes of battles between animals such as horses, lions, etc. explains by saying, “Man himself is a cruel being, and humans are in fact nothing more than tigers and wolves driven by their inherent desire to destroy one another.” This suggests that Delacroix’s work was not merely an aesthetic fascination without the content; Rather, it expresses an intellectual and philosophical vision about the conflict he embodied in his works with scenes of colliding animals, and hunting lions, which refers to the conflict between humans and animals.

beauty resources

Delacroix’s artistic and creative works, characterized by splendor, beauty and difference, were a catalyst for many French and Western artists in general; Where many of them hurried to the East and the Maghreb, to monitor that life full of beauty, and to seek new and other sources of inspiration from those who lived in the West, and the interest of French artists has many increased after Delacroix famously said in the description of Morocco: “At every step there are paintings It is ready to paint, it can occupy twenty generations of artists.” This saying motivated a large number of painters accepted by the East and the amount of their creative and aesthetic It can be said that Delacroix’s famous paintings, including “Arabian horses fighting in the stable”, and “Lion hunting”, and others, it also inspired a number of great English artists such as George Stubbs, who used horses in a number of his paintings, the most famous of which were “The Horse Wessel Jacket” and “The Lion Attacks a Horse.” The interesting thing is that some critics have mentioned that there are similarities between the features of the painter Delacroix’s face. ‘, and he liked to draw the lions; Where a number of them mentioned that his eyes; That is, the artist, they were radiant with a dazzling sheen, as well as the bones of his face sticking out.

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