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“The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix - Le Massacre de Scio

“The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix

“The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix is a massive painting showing the horror and destruction visited on the Island of Chios. A display of suffering, military might, ornate costumes, terror, and death in a scene of widespread desolation. There is no heroic figure to counterbalance the massacre and the hopelessness of the victims, and there is no suggestion of hope among the ruin and despair.

The painting reflects the reality of the Chios massacre and represents the killing of twenty thousand citizens, and the forced deportation into slavery of almost all the surviving seventy thousand inhabitants by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822. Ottoman soldiers were ordered to kill all infants under three years old, all males 12 years and older, and all females 40 and older, except those willing to convert to Islam. The wholesale massacre provoked international outrage and led to increasing international support for the Greek cause for Independence.

Eugène Delacroix was an artist regarded as the leader of the French Romantic school. Delacroix’s use of expressive brushstrokes shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. Dramatic and romantic content characterised the central themes which led him to travel in North Africa, in search of the exotic.

The Massacre at Chios

  • Title:                 The Massacre at Chios
  • French:            Scène des massacres de Scio
  • Artist:               Eugène Delacroix
  • Date:                 1824
  • Media:             Oil on Canvas
  • Dimensions:   419 cm × 354 cm (164 in × 139 in)
  • Museum:         The Louvre

Eugène Delacroix

  • Name:              Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix
  • Born:                1798 – Charenton-Saint-Maurice, Île-de-France, France
  • Died:                1863 (aged 65) – Paris, France
  • Movement:     Romanticism
  • Masterpieces:
    • The Massacre at Chios

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“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” Leonardo da Vinci

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Photo Credit 1)Eugène Delacroix [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons