The Abduction of Rebecca

Artist: Eugène Delacroix (French, Charenton-Saint-Maurice 1798–1863 Paris)

Date: 1846

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 39 1/2 x 32 1/4 in. (100.3 x 81.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1903

Accession Number: 03.30

Description

Throughout his career, Delacroix was inspired by the novels of Sir Walter Scott, a favorite author of the French Romantics. This painting depicts a scene from Ivanhoe: the Jewish heroine Rebecca, who had been confined in the castle of Front de Boeuf (seen in flames), is carried off by two Saracen slaves commanded by the covetous Christian knight Bois-Guilbert. The contorted, interlocking poses and compacted space, which shifts abruptly from the elevated foregound to the fortress behind, create a sense of intense drama. Apart from the still life at lower left, the only element of calm is Rebecca herself.

Related