The Salon du Tapis d'Orient is a moderated discussion group in the manner of the 19th century salon devoted to oriental rugs and textiles and all aspects of their appreciation. Please include your full name and e-mail address in your posting.
by Filiberto Boncompagni
Part II. Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme(1824-1904) was
one of the most famous Orientalists.
On page 35 of Kaffel’s "Caucasian Prayer Rugs" there is a reproduction of his Veiled Circassian Lady (c. 1876). I love this painting.
In 1854 Gérôme made a journey to Turkey
and in 1857 visited Egypt where he spent eight months.
He later visited also Palestine, Greece, Spain, Italy, Algiers and again Egypt.
Among Gérôme’s travel companions it was the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi (the creator of the Statue of Liberty) who took a camera along, as well as the necessary apparatus for developing, and shot some very early travel photographs.
Gérôme probably kept some of Bartholdi's photos for his own use. He was indeed reputed for his photographic style: the important French critic Theophile Gautier wrote a lengthy article about Gérôme's aid of photography. (See also footnote on photography).
250 of his nearly 600 paintings had an Orientalist subject.
He was also reputed for paintings of historical
subjects: pure "studio" products.
Like several other Orientalists, Gérôme used to collect oriental objects like rugs, fabrics, costumes, furniture, metalwork and arms using them in his studio.
Gérôme, Harem Pool
Gérôme, Harem Pool detail
Gérôme,Prayer on the Housetops
Gérôme,Prayer on the Housetops detail
Gérôme,Public Prayer in the Mosque of Amr Cairo 1870
Gérôme,Public Prayer in the Mosque of Amr
Cairo 1870 detail
Gérôme,The Carpet Merchant 1887
Gérôme,The Carpet Merchant 1887 detail
Gérôme,Prayer in the House of an Arnaut Chief 1857
Gérôme,Prayer in the House of an Arnaut Chief
So far I think we have enough material for discussion,
but other artists will be presented next week.
Remember, I'd like to hear from you about:
- how much do you grade, in terms of percentage, the truthfulness of
a painting, with 100% meaning the painting is a faithful reproduction of a
real-life Oriental scene and 0% the painting is pure "artistic" invention.
- identification of the rugs in the painting and incidental comments and opinions on them (or anything else, if you like).
Note: Daguerreotype and calotype were already in use but required long exposure times.
The introduction in 1851 of the collodium process reduced the exposure times drastically - to as little as two or three seconds. This opened up a new dimension for photographers, who up till then had generally to portray very still scenes or people.