This picture depicts an episode of the Fourth Crusade. Then the crusaders, having deviated from their route, seized and plundered Constantinople. Delacroix showed riders under the leadership of Baudouin of Flanders and praying for mercy for peaceful Constantinople.
This work of the artist was acquired by the state, replenishing a series of historical paintings of the Louvre. Her composition in many respects echoes with the “Massacre on Chios.” Again Delacroix writes the scene from a high point, revealing a wide panorama of the background; again he theatrically has a group of figures in the foreground. However, the “cruelty” characteristic of the “Massacre on Chios” is much less there – the Crusader riders look rather tired and even slightly embarrassed rather than bloodthirsty.