The Massacre of Chios is the second main oil painting by the French Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix. It depicts a wartime scene based on real historical event. On April 11th, 1822, Ottoman forces launched a military attack on the inhabitants of Chios. They captured Chios belonging to Greece, and plundered the whole island by bloody massacre. The atrocity resulted in the deaths of twenty thousand citizens, and made slavery of almost all the surviving inhabitants. The progressive people in Europe were irritated by the invaders’ outrage, and British Romantic poet Byron even sacrificed his life in the battle to support the Greek.
Eugène Delacroix was also greatly irritated by Ottoman’s behaviors. Therefore, he created this history painting to show the horror of the destruction of the island of Chios, and express his rage on the invaders and sympathy
the verge of despair. A young man on the front is embrace by a young woman, lying on the ground, hopelessly. In the left pyramid, an old woman is sitting on the front looking up to the sky, as if looking for the God’s help. To her right, a baby seeks for the mother’s comfort, but she is almost dying on the floor. A naked young girl is tied to the horse, dragged by the soldier upon it, who represents the atrocity Ottoman soldiers.
In the Massacre of Chios, there is no heroic figure to save the suffering victims. We can also see the ruin and despair in it, without a little hint of hope. The suffering characters, atrocious solider, ornate costumes, disease and death are vividly painted by Eugene Delacroix, showing the scene of widespread desolation. The painter used dark tone to strengthen the tragic and violent atmosphere, and showed great sympathy on the victims. Presently the orientalism painting hangs at the Louvre Museum in Paris.