Ovid among the Scythians (1859) by Eugene Delacroix

Ovid among the Scythians - Eugene Delacroix - 1859

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Artwork Information

TitleOvid among the Scythians
ArtistEugene Delacroix
Dimensions87.6 x 130.2 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationNational Gallery, London, UK

About Ovid among the Scythians

The artwork titled “Ovid among the Scythians” is a creation by the artist Eugene Delacroix, completed in the year 1859. Painted using the oil on canvas technique, it measures 87.6 x 130.2 cm. The piece is in the genre of history painting and belongs to the Romanticism art movement. The painting can be viewed at the National Gallery in London, UK.

In “Ovid among the Scythians,” the scene depicts the exiled Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid, in the company of the Scythians, a group of ancient nomadic warriors. The setting is a dramatic, expansive landscape, implying the rough and distant lands to which Ovid was exiled. The landscape consists of rugged mountains, a serene body of water, and a wide sky with soft clouds. The painting portrays Ovid as a serene figure, dressed in what appears to be Roman garb, reclining on the ground and interacting with local tribespeople.

The composition of the artwork shows various figures engaged in different activities. On the left, there is a group of Scythians constructing a structure, and Ovid can be seen seated with a youth standing next to him, alongside a dog. In the central part of the painting, several Scythians are depicted in conversation, one standing with a shield and another seated on horseback, while a stoic black horse occupies a prominent position in the foreground. To the right, a pair of figures are resting together. The figures are enveloped by the wilderness, which evokes a sense of the vast distance from Ovid’s homeland. The artist has captured the tranquil conversation and everyday life among the Scythians, while also emphasizing the isolation and contemplative state of the exiled poet.

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