Moorish Bath, ca. 1874-1877
Oil on canvas
81.9 x 65.6 cm (32 5/16 x 25 13/16 inches)
Museum Membership Fund 66.280
In this unfinished composition, a carefully-drawn female bather leans over a wall basin, dappled by light that streams from the chamber’s dome. In contrast to her porcelain-like smoothness, both the crouching servant and much of the surrounding structure are rendered in loose brushstrokes, revealing the underpainting that preceded the refining “finish”that was a hallmark of Gerome’s style. Orientalist subjects that reinforced both romantic notions and stereotypes of foreign cultures were a dominant current in 19th century European painting. Although male visitors were forbidden from observing the traditions of the bath, their details were known through travelers’ accounts. Artists recreated such scenes by posing models in their studios and then incorporating them into authentic architectural settings. Moorish baths were highly popular subjects with Gerome’s audience, but this particular painting was neither exhibited nor offered for sale during his lifetime, due to its uncompleted state. Instead, it was given by the artist to his daughter, Madeleine, to whom it is inscribed in the lower right corner.
European Paintings and Sculpture, ca. 1770 - 1937
Edited BySlimmon, Ann H, and Judith A. Singsen, eds.
Contributions byRosenfeld, Daniel, et al
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1991
TypeMonographs and CollectionsA Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
Edited ByWoodward, Carla M., and Franklin W. Robinson, eds.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1988
TypeMonographs and Collections