In The Combat of the Giaour and Hassan, he is actually illustrating and I don’t think illustration is actually the appropriate word for this, but he imagining a particular couplet from Byron’s verse. Byron writes:
When grappling in the fight they fold
Those arms that ne’er shall lose their hold:
Friends meet to part; Love laughs at faith;
True foes, once met, are joined till death!
So the confused and intense fury of this particular composition was exactly what recaptures from Byron’s verse. It’s a remarkable picture. He returns to the Giaour many times and he illustrates it to different passages but in this particular one he has really created the most energetic image of this poem, imaginable. And he based it not just saw in this reading of the text but he has interpreted the text in such a way that it reflects an actual experience that he had in North Africa.
The Arabian horses that were used by the North African Cavalry were quite off rank and would attack each other. These horses were so high strung they would throw their riders and caused chaos and essentially that’s what you have here not just these two hostile enemies a Christian Giaour and an Arab sheikh Hassan going at each other. The horses are also engaged in a life and death struggle. And the Giaour and Hassan were deadly enemies because of Hassan’s murdering the Giaour’s mistress. It’s an extraordinary interpretation of Byron’s play.
Patrick Noon shares a really important bit of information – the definition of modernism, press the green button. The red button will bring you to a discussion of Delacroix’s brilliant and intense compositions.