Firstly, as an oil on canvas painting, created in 1849, it has the distinction of having been painted by a French painter who is considered by art historians to have spearheaded the French Romantic Movement in the field of art. In fact, Delacroix is considered to be one of the old masters. Secondly, it depicts an historic scene. The Arab horseman of the title seems to be involved in fighting a battle and judging by the helmet on the ground, it seems to be a scene from the time of the Crusades. Delacroix had a strong interest in history as well as in the exotic. Instead of turning to the classical themes for inspiration for his work, he turned to the middle east and north Africa for inspiring imagery.
According to Eugéne Delacroix, the main aim of a painting was to be a feast for the eye. He certainly ensured that his own paintings were nothing less than that. Like all artists of the Romantic Movement, he concentrated on feelings and emotions rather than logical and scientific thinking. His paintings were characterised by historical scenes, and rich brushwork alive with vivid colours. This painter was an inspiration for the artists of later periods, particularly the Impressionists. Born in 1798, Eugéne Delacroix lived at the time when the Romantic movement in art, literature and intellectual thinking was at its height. That was in the first half of the 19th century. He excelled at depicting the human form in a lifelike manner, as well as animal forms. His travels in north Africa left an indelible mark on his work.
This painting is incredible and viewing it is an unforgettable experience. It's a high voltage moment, frozen in action and the painting must have been incredibly difficult to produce. Therefore, it would be all the more rewarding to complete. When the camera was yet in its infancy, Delacroix exhibited the most masterly skill in capturing an Arab horsemen, riding hands free, brandishing his sword, as his horse runs at breakneck pace. This seems to have been commissioned for a private collection. It remains in a private collection till today. A moment frozen in time forever.