Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Classic Saladin

Saladin conquering Jerusalem (c.1830-50) by the French painter Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780-1850).

Alexandre Fragonard was the son of the Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard and a student of Jacques-Louis David. Here he depicted how the famous Muslim leader Saladin conquered Jerusalem. To show a Muslim as a hero was not so unusually for an artist in the time of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

But really remarkable are the classical costumes. Fragonard depicted the Arabs as Greek warriors, the only concession is the strange turban of Saladin.


  1. Great painting :)

    Here is something to ponder over. The mothers and babies of Jerusalem have come out of the city and into the battle ground, presumably to beg Saladin to not destroy their city. But in 1187, who would those mothers be? Saladin didn't target Islamic or Jewish families, so I am assuming all the women were Christian Crusaders' wives from western Europe, doing a spot of breeding in the Holy Land.

  2. That may be right. But I found it more interesting that Fragonard painted a Muslim hero and not Richard Lionheart as usual.

  3. Fantastic picture. I would love to get a copy. Any ideas?