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The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan

Two men on horseback clash in battle, another man crouches with knife.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Two men on horseback clash in battle, another man crouches with knife.




Eugène Delacroix
French, 1798-1863

About this artwork

This colorful scene was inspired by a poem from Lord Byron’s “Oriental tales,” a popular series of romances. Both the poem and the painting are examples of 19th-century Europeans’ interest in fantastical and often violent depictions of Middle Eastern, North African, and Asian cultures, which reinforced colonialist aims. Although Eugène Delacroix did not visit North Africa until 1832, he began painting Orientalist subjects early on in his career. The artist’s French audience would have been receptive to his choice of jewel-like colors to describe the shimmering, gold-braided vest and billowing robes of the central figures. Far from accurately representing the attire of the 17th-century combatants of Byron’s poem, Delacroix drew upon styles worn by the Turko-Egyptian Mameluke warriors during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaign in Egypt in 1798–99.


On View, Gallery 220


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Eugène Delacroix


The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


59.6 × 73.4 cm (23 1/2 × 28 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Bertha Palmer Thorne, Rose Movius Palmer, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur M. Wood, and Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Palmer

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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