Fanatics of Tangier - Eugene Delacroix. 96.5 x 129.5 cm
The predominance of emotions, the dominant position of the personal, dramatic interpretation of the plot, exotic keynotes - all these romantic artists opposed the neoclassical ideals, proclaiming reason, moderation and rather strict adherence to compositional and technical canons in painting. The painting by the Fanatics of Tangier, written by the leader of the romantic movement in the fine arts, Eugene Delacroix, is a prime example of style.
In 1832, together with the Ambassador of France, Comte de Morney, the artist went to Morocco. Later, in 1838, presenting the picture at an exhibition in the Salon, Delacroix told the background of its creation. In Africa, the painter faced the fanatical adherents of the Muslim sect Ben Issa. Preaching poverty and asceticism, they wandered around the cities, asking for alms. With a certain frequency, fanatics met near the city of Tangier, and, exciting themselves with prayers, dancing, screaming, falling into ecstasy, they invaded the streets of the city, where they roared, went on a rampage, causing harm to the townspeople and buildings.
Delacroix became a witness to such a riot of fanatics. He immediately sketched several watercolors, so that after a few years to paint a picture from them.
For the coloristic decision, Delacroix's paintings were scolded and praised. The combination of contrasting color spots was unusual here, as a result of which the picture turned out to be bright and saturated. Critics pointed out that the artist actually abandoned the contour, for the sake of color spots, to which Delacroix objected that there is no pure contour in nature. Such a worldview is very similar to the future principles of impressionism.
Delacroix masterfully implements the principle of complementary colors. Red clothes, a green flag in combination with each other receive the highest visual brightness.
No matter how traditional critics grumbled, pointing to the sketchiness and incompleteness of the canvas, it entered the world treasury of painting, showing by its example how the great talent of one artist can get ahead of the aesthetic paradigm of his time, anticipating and predicting the evolution of art.