Don Juan and Haydee
(Alexandre-Marie Colin)


Byron’s epic satire Don Juan was published between 1819 and 1824 and, like his other works, soon became an inspiration to French Romantic artists. Gillot Saint-Evre was the first to exhibit a picture of Don Juan and Haydée at the Salon, in 1827. It remained a popular subject into the second half of the century. The idyllic love affair between the hero, who shared only a name with the hero of legend and Mozart’s opera, and Haydée was the subject of the poem’s second canto. After being exiled from Spain for his affair with Julia, Don Juan was the sole survivor of a shipwreck which landed him on a Grecian island, the stronghold of the pirate Lambro. He was found there by Lambro’s beautiful daughter, Haydée who, with her servant, took him to a cave to nurse him back to health in secret. After dressing and feeding him, she tried to teach him her language: And then fair Haydée tried her tongue at
But not a word could Juan comprehend,
Although he listen’d so that the young
Greek in
Her earnestness would ne’er have made
an end;
(Canto II, clxi)
Colin was attentive to Byron’s rich descriptive detail; he included among the details of the composition Don Juan ‘s “clean shirt, and very spacious breeches,” the Turkish garb that Haydée supplied, oysters, the “amatory food” for Don Juan’s nourishment, and Haydée’s bare foot. The face of Colin’s Don Juan was based on the well-known likeness of the poet.

18 1/4 x 21 3/4 inches (46.5 x 55.5 cm.)
Oil on canvas

Provenance: France, Private Collection, 1992; New York, Private Collection.

Related work: Don Juan et Haydée, Exhibited, Paris, Salon, 1833 (no. 435); Lille, 1834 (“This picture belonged to M. Shrolt in Paris; it won a silver medal in genre section.”) (no. 66), acquired 1998 by the Vassar College Art Museum.


Exhibited: Paris, Salon of 1837, no. 362; New Orleans Museum of Art, New York Stair Sainty Matthiesen, Cincinnati Taft Museum of Art, Romance and Chivalry: Literature and History reflected in early nineteenth century painting, June 1996 – February 1997, n

Where is It?
Matthiesen Gallery
Historical Period
Neoclassicism - 1780-1820 & Romanticism - 1810-1870
1996-Romance and Chivalry: History and Literature reflected in Early Nineteenth Century French Painting.
Hardback book. 300 pages, fully illustrated with 90 colour plates and 100 black and white illustrations. Introduction (40 pages) by Guy Stair Sainty, twelve essays, catalogue, appendix of salons 1801-24 and bibliography. £50 or $80 inc. p.& p.

(Click on image above)
Price band
$50,000 - $100,000