Friday, December 24, 2010

La Mort de Sardanapale (1827) - Eugène Delacroix

Its dominant feature is a large bed on which a nude prostrates herself and beseeches the apathetic Sardanapalus for mercy. Sardanapalus had ordered his possessions destroyed and sex slaves murdered before immolating himself, once he learned that he was faced with military defeat.

Death of Sardanapalus is based on the tale of Sardanapalus, the last king of Assyria, from the historical library of Diodorus Siculus, the ancient Greek historian, and is a work of the era of Romanticism. This painting uses rich, vivid and warm colors, and broad brushstrokes. It was inspired by Lord Byron's play Sardanapalus (1821). And in turn inspired a cantata by Hector Berlioz, La mort de Sardanpale (1830), and also Franz Liszt's opera, Sardanapale (1845-52, unfinished).

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