Othello and Desdemona (1847 – 1849) by Eugene Delacroix

Othello and Desdemona - Eugene Delacroix - 1847 - 1849

Artwork Information

TitleOthello and Desdemona
ArtistEugene Delacroix
Date1847 - 1849
Dimensions50.8 x 62.2 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada

About Othello and Desdemona

The painting titled “Othello and Desdemona” was created by French artist Eugene Delacroix between 1847 and 1849. This oil on canvas work measures 50.8 x 62.2 cm and is a fine example of the Romanticism art movement. It is classified as a literary painting due to its subject matter being drawn from literature, in this case, William Shakespeare’s play “Othello.” The artwork can be viewed at the National Gallery of Canada, located in Ottawa, Canada.

The artwork depicts a dramatic scene from Shakespeare’s tragic play. In the foreground to the left side of the painting, Othello stands while holding a light, which casts an eerie glow across his face, enhancing the emotional intensity of the scene. His attire is colorful, reflecting the exoticism often associated with his character. In stark contrast, the bedchamber is dominantly cloaked in shadows and rich, deep reds, suggesting a foreboding atmosphere.

Desdemona lies on the bed, illuminated by Othello’s light, seemingly asleep and oblivious to Othello’s presence. She appears vulnerable and tranquil amidst the surrounding tension. The composition, the play of light and shadow, and the use of color all contribute to the overall sense of tragedy and impending doom, foreshadowing the play’s tragic conclusion. The visible presence of a sword and helmet on the floor symbolizes the themes of war and conflict that underpin the narrative. Delacroix’s painting captures the emotional complexity and turmoil at this pivotal moment in the play, demonstrating Romanticism’s focus on strong emotions and dramatic content.

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