Le combat du Giaour et Hassan (1826)

Delacroix, Eugène (1798-1863)

Le combat du Giaour et Hassan (The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan)
Oil on canvas, 59.6 × 73.4 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

This colorful scene was inspired by a poem from Lord Byron’s “Oriental tales,” a popular series of romances. Both the poem and the painting are examples of 19th-century Europeans’ interest in fantastical and often violent depictions of Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures, which reinforced colonialist aims. Although Eugène Delacroix did not visit North Africa until 1832, he began painting Orientalist subjects early on in his career. The artist’s French audience would have been receptive to his choice of jewel-like colors to describe the shimmering, gold-braided vest and billowing robes of the central figures. Far from accurately representing the attire of the 17th-century combatants of Byron’s poem, Delacroix drew upon styles worn by the Turko-Egyptian Mameluke warriors during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaign in Egypt in 179899. (AIC)


Delacroix, Eugène (1798-1863)
Combat du Giaour et du Pacha
Petit PalaisParis



See also:

• Byron, George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron (1788-1824)