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The plot is taken by the artist from the famous tragedy of the ancient Greek writer Euripides "Medea." The image of Medea is known to us even from ancient Greek myths and legends. The passionate and strong-willed queen Medea was the keeper of the Golden Fleece, a symbol of luxury and power. Iason, attracted by a passionate desire to get the Golden Fleece, went with the Argonauts on a long and difficult journey.
In the palace of Queen Medea, he succeeds in successfully overcoming all kinds of obstacles and witchcraft tricks, as a result of which he not only gets the Golden Fleece, but also conquers the woman’s indomitable heart.
A woman in love surrenders to the mercy of the winner. And soon he gives birth to two beautiful children. For the sake of love for the hero, the queen gives up power, leaves her kingdom and flees with Iason, but here in exile she will face cruel betrayal. The Corinthian king Creon, who learned that Jason possesses a magical rune, offers to give his wife, Princess Glaucus, as a wife, secretly wanting to get a relic.
Jason, without thinking about what he is leaving his beloved with the children, agrees ... Enraged and distraught with pain, Medea is plotting a terrible revenge. Left alone with the children, she implements the monstrous plan and with her own hands kills the fruits of her crazy love - two beautiful sons.
Delacroix, belonging to the dominant trend in the 19th century - romanticism, took this tragic plot for his picture. The painting was painted according to the canons of that time. We see the queen with her two sons on her, her face is either rage or fear .. She looks around as if seeking support, an excuse for what she is about to do.
With one hand she holds her sons. One of them hangs on her arm in an absurd, uncomfortable position. The child is scared, trying to break free. She grabbed the other boy by the hand and pressed her to herself so that he would not run away, and he casts a bewildered look at what is happening. And he sees a knife tightly clamped in his mother’s hand ...
Delacroix was able in these poses and gestures to convey all the horror and inevitability of what is happening. He created a very vivid emotional image of an abandoned woman who, in the name of revenge, is able to take even such a step as infanticide.
Van Gogh Self-portraits