Object Image

Ovid among the Scythians

In AD 8 the Roman poet Ovid, author of the poem Metamorphoses, was banished for life by the Emperor Augustus to the port of Tomis on the coast of the Black Sea. At that time, this region was inhabited by the Scythians, nomadic warrior-tribes who originally came from the area now known as southern Siberia. Delacroix depicts the kindness shown to Ovid, wearing a blue toga, by a group of Scythians, who offer him food and milk, while others look on. In keeping with the classical subject, the balanced distribution of figures across the painting echoes the structure of a Roman frieze and also recalls the landscapes of seventeenth-century French artists such as Claude (1604/5-1682) and Nicolas Poussin...

Oil on canvas
87.6 x 130.2cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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