African Pirates Abducting a Young Woman 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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African Pirates Abducting a Young Woman (1852) is a creation by Eugene Delacroix who is a French Romanticist of the French Romantic School.

In this piece, he vividly paints six African men taking off with a white woman on a boat. Three of the men are struggling to put the woman into the boat. One of the three men is struggling with the woman’s legs while sitting on the boat. The second man has one foot on a rock and the other in the boat. He is pushing the woman with his shoulder into the boat. The last of the three has the woman’s hand clenched on his face because he is the one handling the woman's whole body.

Two other men are working on the getaway, one pushes the boat while the other has a paddle. The last man, who appears to be orange and holding what appears to be a weapon, is running towards the boat. It seems like he is being chased. The whole scene in this painting is dramatic. It leaves the viewer in much suspense. The artist clearly defined the foreground and background by the way he used colour in the composition. Images on the foreground are brighter and more dominant compared to the dull ones in the background. The painting has a well-defined sense of direction. The original painting was done with oil paints and the medium used was canvas. Its dimensions are 65 x 81 cm. This painting is currently located in Musee du Louvre, Paris, France (The Louvre Museum.)

Eugene Delacroix's artworks were dramatic and romantic. They characterized the central themes of his maturity, and for this reason, he was led not to the classical models of Roman and Greek art, but to North Africa where he travelled searching for the exotic. Eugene Delacroix was inspired by Theodore Gericault, Michelangelo, Diego Velazquez, Peter Paul Rubens, and Francisco Goya. These notable names in history are the ones who are believed to have influenced Delacroix’s artistic development.

Delacroix's study on optical effects of colour and the use of brush strokes greatly shaped the work of other impressionists. He influenced other artists like Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, Pablo Picasso and Gustave Courbet who are known to have done an in-depth study of his work.