Saint Stephen Borne Away by his Disciples
Oil on canvas
46.6 x 38 cm
Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death outside the walls of Jerusalem in 35 AD. As darkness falls, his disciples carry away his body.
They look anxiously about, whilst one cleans blood from the steps. The tragic mood is established by the funereal gloom of the landscape, enlivened by a blood-red sunset. Delacroix painted this late work for himself. He was attracted by the theme of the outsider as the victim of the crowd. He thought that it mirrored his own fate as an artist, mocked by the critics.
Purchased 1962 (No.62.1)