Delacroix's Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi
Painted in 1826 by Eugène Delacroix, the leading French Romantic painter of the day, Greece on the ruins of Missolonghi is one of the most celebrated French paintings of the 19th century. It was executed shortly after the event it commemorates: In 1825, during the Greek war of independence from Ottoman occupation, Turkish troops besieged the city of Missolonghi. The Greek population, already decimated by famine and epidemics, attempted a heroic liberation that ended in tragedy when the Turks killed most of the population of the city. Delacroix, like many European artists and intellectuals, was a fervent supporter of the Greek cause. Most of the painting is dedicated to the figure of Greece herself, represented as a young woman wearing traditional costume. Her posture and expression recall traditional religious images of the Virgin weeping over the body of Christ. The image of suffering Greece succeeded in conveying the plight of the Greeks to the French public.
Now kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, sister city to Los Angeles, this monumental painting has seldom traveled. The exhibition is a rare opportunity to see a masterpiece by one of the great French artists of the 19th century.
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This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, under the auspices of FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange), in celebration of the Sister Cities anniversary program, Bordeaux–Los Angeles: A 50 Year Partnership. The organizers are grateful for the special collaboration of the Mairie de Bordeaux, the City of Los Angeles, and Sister Cities of Los Angeles. The exhibition was supported in part by Chaucer Logistics Group.
Image: Eugène Delacroix, La Grèce sur les runies de Missolonghi, 1826, Photo © Musée des Beaux-Arts-mairie de Bordeaux. Cliché F. Deval.