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The crusaders suddenly plundered the richest city in the world - Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Legends circulated about his innumerable riches - this is visible and served as the reason for such a sudden and destructive attack. The most powerful army captured the capital of Byzantium. E. Delacroix captured all the horror of what was happening in his painting.
Locals begged for mercy, but their pleas were not heard by cold-blooded and merciless warriors, this is evidenced by black smoke covering the entire horizon and covering the snow-white and chic buildings of the beautiful city, spread out on the coast of the sea bay, surrounded by mountains laden with lush greenery.
The picture impresses with its panoramic composition. We see everything that happens from above, so even the smallest details do not escape the viewer's gaze. The opening beauty of the panoramic landscape is overshadowed by the dark actions of the warriors, the invading army. And this situation is so ridiculous - against the backdrop of luxury and beauty - the horror of death and the despair of hopelessness.
In the foreground of the picture is the fear and horror of the locals, praying for mercy. But in the air there is a spirit of imminent disaster, this is intensely emphasized by the torn flag of the city under the hooves of the horses of the invaders. But, strangely enough, the crusaders do not look aggressive in the picture and death-bearing, they are terrible precisely because of their composure and soullessness.
In peace and confidence, all their destructive power, which is unshakable neither in the tears of women and children, nor in the weakness of the elderly. They calmly and confidently robbed the city, which in the background is narrated by smoke from looted and burned houses.
It is noteworthy that the image of the scale of the composition and only a few people from the invader army do not match. The artist does not show the whole army, he focuses on the fact that all wars are the result of the thinking and efforts of several people. All tragedy comes from one head.
The very alarming sky covered with black smoke, combined with the beauty of white chic houses give an awareness of the short-term happiness from wealth, which is also indicated by jewelry boxes around the defeated residents, a few moments ago, in the richest city. In the face of mortal danger - the only value is the life of loved ones.
ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH. ABOUT WEALTH AND TRUE VALUES.
Mikaloyus Konstantinas Čiurlionis