The Abduction of Rebecca II Eugene Delacroix Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The topic of The Abduction of Rebecca captured artist Delacroix's imagination and led to him creating two different interpretations in the year 1846. This particular piece is now at the The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, US.

Delacroix would make use of literature as inspiration for much of his work and for a period his influences would all be British texts. In this case, he called on the novels of Sir Walter Scott and would continue to do so in other paintings as well. He famously also studied the works of Shakespeare and Lord Byron. His interest in British literature would eventually lead to live in the country for a short period, where he gained friendships with a number of local painters as well. He was someone who would always look beyond the comfort of his own nation in order to expand his ideas and influences, most famously with a series of paintings inspired by his time in North Africa. The Romanticist movement itself would involve both literature and art, with Delacroix himself leading the way in the latter. The content that we find in this painting is directly inspired by passages from Ivanhoe, from Scott's Waverley Novels.

This frightening scene captures efforts to take this Jewish woman off and away, whilst others fight for her protection. She was previously to be found in the Front de Boeuf castle but is now outside and particularly vulnerable. This version does not feature Rebecca as prominently as in the other, and focuses more on the Saracen soldiers who appear on horseback and attack the local fighters. This Romanticist piece is loosely painted, allowing for further drama, as if we are caught up in this chaos ourselves. The artist's trademark tones of red are present, but only used sparingly. The outfits are stunningly produced and faithful to the time, just as Delacroix would always do. He researched such paintings technically and also historically in order to ensure that quality remained high throughout his career.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston holds this impressive piece and its listing suggests that watercolours were actually used in part for this work, along with gouache and pencil, although this would need to be checked and confirmed. Besides paintings, they also offer an interesting collection of pre-Columbian gold as well as a large number of historic items from Africa. There are also large amounts of traditional European jewellery as well, giving a rich offering that most visitors will find something of interest within. Some of the specific paintings to look out for include The Elder Sister by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Gust of Wind by Gustave Courbet, Indians Spear Fishing by Albert Bierstadt and one of the Women of Algiers series, also from Delacroix.

The Abduction of Rebecca II in Detail Eugene Delacroix