Women of Algiers, Delacroix

Women of Algiers, Delacroix
Women of Algiers, Delacroix

The work Women of Algiers in his apartment is, together with the canvas of the Death of Sardanápolo, one of the most orientalizingcourt and aestheticpaintings made by the Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. Currently the work is in the Louvre Museum in Paris cataloged as Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement; It is a painting done in oil on canvas in a horizontal format and large dimensions, the canvas is more than one hundred and eighty centimeters high and almost two hundred and thirty centimeters wide.


Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) is one of the great artistic figures of the French romantic school. It seems that his artistic training was strongly linked to the Parisian school of Jaques Louis David; There he not only received the training of one of the greatest painters of neoclassicism but also shared a school and was able to meet one of the artistic figures that would most influence Gericault's paintings. Delacroix entered official circles thanks to one of his best-known canvases, Dante and Virgil's Descent into Hell, which would be widely accepted

In the early thirties and as an established artist he traveled to Algiers and lived there one of the most beautiful experiences according to the artist's own words; Delacroix was able to admire in first person the interior of a harem, something that until then very fewWesterners had been able to do. It is precisely from that time when two years later, in 1834, and already back in his Paris studio, the artist decides to reflect on one of his canvases and following the multiple drawings and annotations that he had made in Algiers the work that we find here.

It is an interior scene where three women appear seated on the floor in different positions, accompanied by the figure of a black maid who leaves the room, turning her face backwards. This very realistic composition introduces us to the canvas as if we were voyeurs, with our presence we have interrupted the intimate scene that was taking place inside the harem.

The women appear dressed in sensual oriental-style clothes. Special mention deserves the figure represented in the background whose face is hidden in the shadows of the room. In the center of the composition we find a typical opium pipe in these scenes.

Delacroix has spent a lot of time carrying out every single detail on the canvas, from the rugs to the wall tiles, everything has a personal touch. The chromatic range used is earthy, combining perfectly with the quality and golden light that diffuses through the women's room; the painting has been applied based on small brushstrokes with a large load of impasto, often with unmixed colors.

Delacroix's Women of Algiers had a strong influence on later artists, for exampleMatisse made multiple drawings of the canvas and even made versions of it.

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