"Death of Sardanapalus" - the image of the pagan's death

In the bliss and luxury led ugly in his debauchery life of the legendary king of Assyria and Nineveh sardanapalus. It happened in the seventh century BC the Medes, an ancient Indo-European people, was besieging his capital in two years. Seeing that he would not survive more than a siege and die, the king decided that the enemies should not do to get it. He wants to do? Very simple. He will take the poison, and the rest ordered to burn.
Death of Sardanapalus – the apotheosis of the pagan perception of the world. Pagan rites among all peoples was about the same. Killed the Lord, and follow him into the underworld must be followed by wives, concubines, horses, servants, and utensils that he kept after the death of such a brilliant existence.

History paintings of Eugene Delacroix

six years after the publication of the Byron drama “sardanapalus” Eugene Delacroix creates in 1827 is big in size (392 x 496 cm) the painting “the Death of Sardanapalus”. According to legend, the tyrant was the king of Nineveh and Assyria. He ruled Babylon (otherwise, Bab-El, that in all Semitic languages means "Gate of God”) at the request of his brother Ashurbanipal. Episode when a besieged city is about to fall, I decided to write romantic Delacroix.

That is depicted on the canvas

the Intrepid and ruthless tyrant, who in order not to experience this torment, has decided to take poison, wrote the artist, who traveled to the East and is imbued with the vision of the world. On the foreground the artist has rendered the mass murder of naked women, horses, eunuchs. All the action takes place in the Palace, which is to burn people, animals, Royal robes, gold and silver. The death of Sardanapalus should be remembered in centuries.

it is no place of pity. Serene only Satrap, all the other characters writhe in agony and trying to drag. But the funeral pyre is ready (the faggot is cooked, and it can be seen top right). It will die and favorite concubine Myrrh. She's a great honour – her ashes mixed with the ashes of the Lord. As epic as it should be the death of Sardanapalus by his own decision.
Bright and impressive action seeks to portray Delacroix. Critics of his time rejected the painting “the Death of Sardanapalus”. The description of the picture above. They did not like the cruelty and the rejection of beauty that then prevailed in the paintings of Ingres. Appreciated properly only by Victor Hugo and later C. Baudelaire.


All the action is illuminated diagonally down from top left to right. The composition consists of many pieces.

the Main place is the scarlet bed lying on it in perfect tranquility despot. It almost touches the foot of the head of an elephant with two broken tusks. Next to the right and to the left are the bodies of dead women. Diagonal ends with a preparation for death naked concubines, which muscular servant wrung his hands behind his back. He raised the dagger. To the left of this scene a black slave cooks to death frightened abutting a beautiful horse with an intelligent and beautiful face.

"Death of Sardanapalus" is decorated with a series of murders. Bottom right you can see a man, who unsuccessfully pleads with the king for mercy. Top right man prefers to hang himself, and not painful to die from burns. Tyrant absolutely quiet. It already brought on a tray in a beautiful jug of poison and a bowl for him. He will take it at any time. The composition lives and moves, adds realism to the whole picture: fear of slaves, the passivity of the king, martesia horror emanating from the executioners.

the Contrast of light and color

the painting is dominated by the red color of fire and blood. The background is as dark compared to the main scarlet and light to flood the Central diagonal, on which the white many the female body. All coated with gold, precious scattered utensils. The warm colours of the painting emphasises the closeness of all the impending fire. It looks like upon closer examination, “the Death of Sardanapalus”. The analysis of the painting says that the extinction of life – is the driving force of the work. The painting was perceived ambiguously.
Most romantic painting Delacroix “the Death of Sardanapalus” was long forgotten and acquired by the Louvre Museum only in 1921.