Many emotions stem from war and violence. Some people cope by talking to a friend, others write things down in a journal. Very few choose to discard the written or vocal word for brush and canvas, chalk and paper, or any number of artistic mediums at their disposal. Eugene Delacroix and Otto Dix were two such men. Even though their careers blossomed almost a century apart, they shared common ground. Both men chose to speak through their work depicting history with an unfiltered approach. How does a piece of art affect a viewer? Does that piece convey a message effectively to its viewers? Let us investigate the two artists that roused plenty of conflict and sentiment with their depiction of two very sensitive topics in their era.
The Musee Du Louvre in Paris, France is home to Eugene Delacroix’s The Massacre at Chios Greek Families Awaiting Death of Slavery. Completed in the heart of the Romantic Period (1824), The Massacre at Chios illustrates the gruesome tale of the 19th century revolutionary war between the Turks and Greece. In 1821 Greece revolted against the Ottoman Empire. Secret talks were held among the leaders of Greece and the Chios elders about joining the fight. The Chios were apprehensive to join in the battle because of the prosperity their people gained from trade and sales to the Sultan. However, after the Sultan received word of these secret talks, he turned against the Chios and sent a Turkish Fleet to annihilate the island people. For nearly a fortnight the Turks committed murder, rape, and torture. As the dust was settling among still smoldering buildings, smoke filled air and ash, an estimated 90,000 people were dead, and an additional 50,000 islanders were taken into slavery.
Delacroix was amidst many in Europe who were appalled at the atrocities committed against the people of Chios. He and others like him felt the need to document this incident. Eugene Delacroix was 26 years of age when he completed this...
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