The Death of Sardanopoulos

Musing on the tension of his betrayal,
The master observes his orders wrought before him.
The first of his women braces against finality,
Arching against the unrelenting adherence.
A knife resolute in action,
A man resolute in obedience,
Terror and confusion –
Dismay discordant in the opulence.
In the center, calm,
Or perhaps death.
The women draped,
The horse reeling,
The men armed,
The wealth burning,
And above, distanced, the Lord,
Disinterested and observant.
For surely there will be no world once he is gone.


For a long time, “The Death of Sardanopoulos” was one of my favorite paintings. It is by Eugene Delacroix.

“The Death of Sardanapoulos” by Eugene Delacroix. I’m very drawn by the tension expressed by the pair in the bottom right section. His arm and her whole being opposed to each other, but symmetrical.

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