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The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan

The Combat of the Giaour and Hassen (1835) by Eugène Delacroix

The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan is the title of three works by Eugène Delacroix, produced in 1826, 1835 and 1856. They all show a scene from Lord Byron's 1813 poem The Giaour, with the Giaour ambushing and killing Hassan, the Pasha, before retiring to a monastery.[1] Giaour had fallen in love with Leila, a slave in Hassan's harem, but Hassan had discovered this and had her killed.

1826 version

1826 version[2]

In 1824, Delacroix recorded in his diary his experience of reading The Giaour and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage,[3][4][5] probably in their 1819–1824 French translations by Amédée Pichot.[1] His first version was presented to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1826 for an exhibition.[1]

This version shows the Giaour and Hassan, both on horseback, fighting in a gorge.[6] A Turk escorting Hassan kneels beside the Giaour's horse, trying to cut its legs with his knife.[6]

1835 version

Now in the Petit Palais in Paris, the second version.[1] Unlike the 1825 version, it focuses entirely on the two riders.[1][7]

1856 version

This work is a variant of the two previous versions.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e (in French) Jean-Pierre Digard (ed.), Chevaux et cavaliers arabes dans les arts d'Orient et d'Occident, Éditions Gallimard et Institut du monde arabe, 27 November 2002, 304 p. (ISBN 2-07-011743-X), p 261
  2. ^ "The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan".
  3. ^ Roger J. Porter, 'A serpent in the coils of a pythoness : conflicts and self-dramatization in Delacroix's journal', in Autobiography, Historiography, Rhetoric: A Festschrift in Honor of Frank Paul Bowman, Rodopi, 1994, 302 p. (ISBN 9051835760 et 9789051835762)
  4. ^ (in French) Edmond Estève, Byron et le romantisme français, Slatkine, 1973, 560 p., p. 196.
  5. ^ "Combat : The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan".
  6. ^ a b (in French) Chenou, Notice sur l'exposition des produits de l'industrie et des arts qui a eu lieu à Douai en 1827, Wagrez ainé, 1827, p. 83-84.
  7. ^ (in French) Yves Sjöberg, Pour comprendre Delacroix, vol. 3 de Collection Beauchesne, Éditions Beauchesne, 1963, 229 p., p. 127
  8. ^ (in French) Alfred Robaut, Ernest Chesneau and Fernand Calmettes, L'œuvre complet de Eugène Delacroix: peintures, dessins, gravures, lithographies, Charavay Frères, 1885, page 346
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The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan
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