Museums and Art

"Algerian women in their chambers", Eugene Delacroix - description of the painting


Algerian women in their chambers - Eugene Delacroix. 180 x 229 cm

The painting Algerian women played a great role not only in the work of the author, but also in the world of fine art in general, because Matisse, Renoir and, of course, Picasso created their variations on this topic inspired by this work.

Delacroix wrote the work in 1834. The painter traveled to North Africa when he came to visit a sultan (former fleet captain) in Algeria. It is not known how, but the Sultan admitted Delacroix to the holy of holies for the Muslim way of life - in his harem. Of course, the harem made a great impression on the master!

One can guess that the artist significantly romanized the image of the harem. The viewer sees four concubines of different nationalities (it is known that beauties from around the world were delivered to the harem). Their poses are relaxed and full of bliss. Sitting on the carpets, the sultan's wives enjoy the tart smoke of a hookah. The dark-skinned slave goes beyond the border of the canvas - in parting, she says something to the women sitting.

The faces of the heroines express vague emotions - whether it is complete peace, or nostalgia, or longing, or maybe it’s all a hookah ... The atmosphere was painted with special care to convey not only the oriental flavor, but this intangible stuffiness of the room, in which slave housed.

Delacroix's expressive work amazes with its metro-rhythm - time seemed to stand still in the picture, or rather, no one keeps score to it. The wives themselves, in their languor and stillness, seemed to have become part of this room in which they spend time all day.

It is known that once in a place so unusual for a European, Delacroix began to paint everything in watercolor, but time was limited, and the artist in his notebook left detailed descriptions of the clothes of the concubines. Researchers note that it was in this work that the painter began to experiment with colors and shades that he had not used before.

It is interesting that in 2008 the Louvre gathered all the Algerian women in one room - the exposition was crowned by Delacroix, the rest of the harem belonged to Picasso (the master created 15 paintings for this story).


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