Fanatics of Tangier (1837-38) by Eugene Delacroix

Fanatics of Tangier - Eugene Delacroix - 1837 - 1838

Artwork Information

TitleFanatics of Tangier
ArtistEugene Delacroix
Date1837 - 1838
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions97.8 x 131.3 cm
Art MovementOrientalism
Current LocationThe Minneapolis Institute of Arts

About Fanatics of Tangier

The artwork “Fanatics of Tangier” was created by Eugene Delacroix between the years of 1837 and 1838. This oil on canvas painting is a representation of the Orientalism art movement, and it measures 97.8 by 131.3 centimeters. It can be classified as a genre painting and is currently housed at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

The artwork presents a vigorous scene set in the bustling streets of Tangier, reflecting the heightened interest of 19th-century European artists in the exotic and unfamiliar cultures of North Africa and the Middle East. Delacroix captures a moment of intense excitement and fervor, where a group of individuals is depicted mid-gesture, suggesting a convergence of some religious or cultural ceremony. The painting is characterized by dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, vivid use of colors, and energetic brushwork, emphasizing the movement and passion of the figures.

Men are shown in various states of emotional outpour, some with arms outstretched and mouths agape, implying that they are caught in the throes of a passionate outcry or plea. The central figure prominently holds aloft a large green flag while mounted on horseback, lending a focal point to the composition around which the other figures are animated.

Observers are seen looking on from above, perched on the edges of the white-walled buildings that frame the scene, while the audience on the ground is comprised of an assortment of ages and genders, clad in traditional clothing which underscores the particular locale and context of the scene. The dynamic composition and the skillful rendering of the human form work together to convey the raw energy and exuberance of the crowd. Delacroix’s fascination with the subject is evident in the way he portrays both fervor and chaos, capturing a snapshot of cultural role-play that offers Western viewers a window into an Orientalist vision of North African life.

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