Greece dying before the ruins of Delacroix's Mesolonghi

Greece dying before the ruins of Delacroix's Mesolonghi
Greece dying before the ruins of Delacroix's Mesolonghi

This is a work painted by the French artist Eugene Delacroix in 1826 and which is currently exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux.

Delacroix painted throughout his artistic career all the themes that interested the creators ofRomanticism. And one of those aspects was the issues of his contemporary history. In this sense, his most famous work is perhaps Liberty Leading the People. But he made many others, and not only set in his native France, but also in other places.


Greece dying over the ruins of Delacroix's Mesolonghi

A good example is this oil painting of Greece expiring before the ruins of Mesolonghi. In fact, when he painted it, the subject of the Greeks' struggle against the mightyOttoman Empirewas a hot topic today. And even in 1824 he had already exhibited his Massacre of Chios, set in the uprising that took place two years earlier on that Greek island and that was severely stopped by the repression of the Turks.

The Greek struggle once again inspired this second painting based on a real episode in which the Hellenes died in large numbers after trying to resist their enemies in the city of Mesolonghi. By the way, the city where one of the greatest defenders of the Greek cause, the British writer Lord Byron, also died. so the workit is also a respectful tribute to one of the greatest representatives of Romanticism in literature, whom by the way it is known that he had read.

To capture this harsh defeat in this case he does not resort to bloody scenes as he can in the fabric of the Massacre of Chios. Here he does it through a female figure that acts as an allegory of Greece. A woman who wears the traditional dress of her country and with her gesture asks for respect and compassion for her people. By the way, it is an allegory very similar to the aforementioned Liberty leading the people.

And behind her is seen in the shadows a Turkish soldier, recognizable by his turban and his ostentatious clothes, so much to the orientalist taste of Romanticism, and which he painted so many timesDelacroixin works like the Death of SardanĂ¡palo. And here with the proud gesture of him and I come from him as he plants his spear in the ground and as he poses it becomes the symbol of victory and also of oppression to the Greeks.

And the third highlight of the painting is a hand at the bottom, which appears among the ruins. It is the most tragic note of the work and a detail that recalls how some of the city's defenders preferred to blow themselves up rather than be captured and leave their weapons to the Ottoman troops.

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