|"The Arab Scribe" by J.F. Lewis, 1852|
|"The Bath" by J.L. Gerome, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco|
|"Odalisque" by Max Nonnenbruch|
|"By order of the sultan" by Antonio Fabres|
|"Idle Moments" by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1875|
Posted by Tanos on Sun 24 Mar 13, 9:12 PM
The first is Francesco Hayez's "Inside the harem", showing its master relaxing on a divan surrounded by his slaves in various subservient poses, and overlooking a pool where more girls are bathing.
Next Bredt's "Harem beauty" or "The siesta" shows an odalisque lazing in the courtyard of a harem, while a slave plays her music. In the background, more servants are fetching drinks or food on trays or working with a spinning wheel, in contrast to the odalisque's idleness.
The last of these three, "Silence of the Algerian Evening" is Frederick Arthur Bridgman's painting of an evening in a hilltop harem in Algeria, as four odalisques while away the last hours of the day.
The next three begin with "The Arab scribe" by John Frederick Lewis from 1852, showing an Egyptian girl and her servant visiting a scribe, perhaps to have a letter written. But what is the book? It looks as if it has an illustration of some sort. Perhaps the scribe is copying some part of the book for them? A recipe? A love potion? Lewis painted this image a couple of years after returning to England from a decade in Cairo where public scribes who would be paid to write letters for the illiterate would have been a common sight.
Similar to Lewis's "Arab scribe", Ferdinand Max Bredt's "The public scribe" shows a woman and her servant visiting a scribe to have a letter written. The servant is emphasising something that must be said with her hand, whilst her mistress sits back listening and looking rather preoccupied. Their status is confirmed by the patten clogs of differing heights and decoration discarded at the bottom right of the image.
The final painting is "The Koran reader" by Frank Buchser, who visited Morocco several times, painting general street scenes before this image of a man vainly trying to read the Koran, as his half-naked slave girl sits at his feet and tempts him with a juicy slice of water melon.
I only have black and white copies of these last two images, and I was reluctant to upload them as black and white looks a bit flat for paintings. However today I've experimented with converting them into sepia, and they do look better especially with the parchment colour scheme of www.odalisques.com
Edited Sun 24 Mar 13, 9:13 PM