Thursday, December 17, 2015

Turkish Bath (1870)

Jean-Léon Gérôme: Turkish Bath

Among the most commercially successful artists of the nineteenth century, Gérôme built his reputation as an Orientalist, painting scenes of an imaginary place that combined characteristics of North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean with his own fantasies and inventions. Here Gérôme afforded his viewer a glimpse into the private world of a woman’s bath, a scene he surely never witnessed. The pale, red-headed nude—perhaps meant to suggest a Circassian slave from the far reaches of the Ottoman Empire—forms a striking contrast to her African attendant in the sun-dappled interior of an Islamic bathhouse. [Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]

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