Entering the Harem1870
Although Clairin based the architecture and costumes in this painting on observed reality, the painting is very much a work of historical fiction. Clairin imagines a sheik in billowing robes about to enter to his harem—a woman pulls aside the curtain to give the viewer a glimpse of the space beyond. The elaborately inlaid door and the honeycombed vaulting of the architecture recall the Hall of the Two Sisters at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. In the late 19th century, Clairin was a prominent painter of Islamic subjects, portraits, and murals. He traveled to Spain and Morocco in 1868, and, in 1871, he returned to Morocco for a year and a half. Drawing on these experiences, he created dramatic, quasi-historical scenes set in 15th-century Moorish Spain.
- H: 32 1/4 x W: 25 9/16 in. (81.9 x 65 cm)
- oil on canvas
- Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum
- For more: