Christopher Columbus and his Son at La Rábida 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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This painting depicts part of a Franciscan friary in La Rábida, southern Spain. Several other artists besides Delacroix have also produced art here, including David Wilkie and also Charles Lucy.

The scene features a fairly relaxed meeting in which Christopher Columbus and his son, Diego, meet local religious individuals in this well known venue. Columbus stares at a map on the wall whilst the remaining figures discuss relevant issues of the time in small huddles. The architecture is also accurately recreated with beautiful arches found in the distance, at the bottom of the corridor. Their attire is relatively plain, which would have challenged Delacroix far less than in some of his other, more complex scenes. There is not the same level of drama within this painting, which perhaps explains why it has not become the most famous of his career. The inclusion of Columbus does add considerable historical merit to it, though, and provides an alternative style overall for the artist, contrasting with almost anything else that he created.

Although there is relatively little information available on the Delacroix painting, we have managed to piece together a little more knowledge about it from comments made on other artworks produced in and around this building. For example, an exhibition catalogue featuring a drawing by Charles Lucy featured the following detail regarding the visit of Christopher Columbus to this location. It is also likely the further publications about Delacroix's own contribution remain untranslated into English as yet, but maybe done so in the future, perhaps for a catalogue raisonne to capture all of the artist's career, though often just focusing on a single medium, such as painting or drawing. In recent years there have been some major exhibitions of his work which tend to come with new publications that offer new light on his career. Whilst being remembered for his bright colour schemes, he certainly was not the only French artists to have done this, with the earlier French Baroque work of Nicolas Poussin including the likes of The Inspiration of the Poet, The Shepherds of Arcadia (Et in Arcadia ego) and The Miracle of Saint Francis Xavier.

"...Columbus, at this time in the prime of life, careworn and prematurely grey, with his young son, arrived at the Monastery of La Robida. He was hospitably received by the Prior, Juan Peres, a man of great learning, and formerly confessor to the Queen. The Prior was so interested and convinced of the soundness of Columbus's theories relating to the discovery of the New World, that he found him the means of travelling, and furnished him with an introduction for the Queen Isabella, who warmly espoused his project..."

Christopher Columbus and his Son at La Rábida in Detail Eugene Delacroix