Combat between the Giaour and the Pasha 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 Combat of the Giaour and Hassan is the title of three different paintings from Eugene Delacroix which were completed in 1826, 1835 and 1856. The final version was essentially a combination of the earlier two.

Love and murder are the key themes of this scene, with revenge being delivered after Hassan had organised the killing of one of his slaves because of Giaour's interest in her. An ambush is organised to punish this action and Hassan is murdered. This tale is set out in an English poem written in 1813 by Lord Byron, who was an author who greatily interested Delacroix. He would read much literature at this point of his career and find a large amount of inspiration from which to create a great array of paintings and study drawings. The content is therefore entirely typical of this artist, both in the themes of love and tragedy, but also the style of fashion, with Delacroix being someone who loved to capture different cultures within his work and also paid great attention to architecture in other pieces. It is rare, however, for him to have revisited this theme over such a long period of time, thirty years in total between the first and last of these iterations.

The scene captures the drama at its peak, with two horsemen attempting to strike their opponents with a fatal blow. Despite the terror of the moment, there is still a beautiful nature to this painting, with the horses looking strong and decorated intricately, as are the soldier's outfits which feature many layers of material and embroidered touches that bring colour to the scene. The landscape is deliberately left plain so as not to distract one's view, but enough light is delivered to ensure that we can enjoy as much detail as possible on the two fighting men. Another man lies alongside, desperately attempting to help out his colleague, whilst other horsemen can be seen further off in the background on the right.

The painting found here was finished in 1826, making it the first iteration of the series and therefore displays the initial plan from the artist, prior to then making later adjustments for the follow up versions. This painting is now to be found at the Art Institute of Chicago, making it one of the more famous artworks from Delacroix to now be permanently displayed outside the French nation. With over 300,000 items within their overall collection there is something to suit all tastes, but the standout paintings remain the likes of Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Grant Wood's American Gothic, the last of those being perhaps the most famous American painting of all time.

Combat between the Giaour and the Pasha in Detail Eugene Delacroix