Modern Greek theme after the Samothrace massacre

Modern Greek theme after the Samothrace massacre
Modern Greek theme after the Samothrace massacre

During the time of Romanticism, the war of independence that took place in Greece aroused much sympathy among European artists and intellectuals. For example, the greatEugene Delacroixpaid his particular homage to those events with his work Greece dying before the ruins of Mesolonghi. And even the British poet Lord Byron went to Hellenic lands to fight there.


Modern Greek theme after Vinchon's massacre of Samothrace

In that same romantic spirit is framed this huge canvas (274 x 342 cm) en titled Modern Greek Theme after the Samothrace Massacre. A painting painted by Auguste Vinchon in 1827 and which is currently kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Focuses on the dramatic condition of the island of Samothrace in 1821 following a devastating attack by the Turks. The image could not be more eloquent as it shows us the body of an elderly man who is sitting down and completely dejected while looking at the body of a baby that he has in his right arm, at the same time that with the other hand he is touching the almost naked and dead body of what is supposed to be his daughter, since she would be breastfeeding the child, who is therefore the character's grandson.

The scene seems to take place at the gates of a humble house, inThe body of another man can also be seen nearby, who lies dead, although he still carries in his hand a small knife with which he has tried to defend his family.

A knife that was a completely useless weapon in those times, just as we see the destroyed landscape, to which the author precisely takes our gaze, thanks to that dead body placed perpendicular to the surface of the painting, thus giving the image greater depth.

And in the background of such a terrible scene is the smoke left by the destruction of the battle, even more shocking in the evening light.

A very curious note is that the main character, whom we see wracked with pain, although in a very dignified pose, wears the brightly colored traditional clothes. This is something that is usually common in these Romantic paintings. Where a wave of orientalism flooded many works. But here, although Vinchon does not hesitate to expand on those vests or turbans, it is also true that this does not alleviate the pain and drama of this scene, with which, after all,, without showing us a bloody battle, is capable of capturing all the horror left by war.

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