Delacroix's 'Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi' at Los Angeles Museum


The people and visitors of Los Angeles will have the great opportunity of seeing one of the most famous paintings of Eugene Delacroix, the 19th Century French Romantic painter. “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi,” painted in 1826, depicts one important moment of Greece’s war of independence against the Turks.

The painting is on permanent exhibition in the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, France and it rarely travels. Now it will be exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of the celebration of 50 years of sister-city relationship with Bordeaux. The exhibition will focus on the particular painting along with other paintings of the museum’s permanent collection to support the narrative, according to

Delacroix’s painting depicts Greece and one of the brave women of Messolonghi during the city’s long siege by the Turkish army. The attempt of famished Greeks to escape the night between April 10 and 11, 1826, ended in tragedy as the Ottoman army slaughtered almost all of them. The white and blue clothes of the woman who is on her knees pleading for help, symbolize the colors of the Greek flag.

The painting was a response to that tragic event and took three months to complete. Delacroix was one of the many European artists who supported the Greek cause. “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi” was one of over 200 paintings by various artists who set up an exhibition in order to generate support for Greece’s independence and convince the French government that they should intervene.

With a two-year delay, the French along with Britain and Russia, joined the Greek revolutionary army to finally end the 400-year Ottoman rule. Art historians say that Delacroix’s masterwork was in fact a propaganda painting.