The Circassian Guards




Artist: Stanislaus von Chebowski (1835 - 1884)
Title: The Circassian Guards
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 21 7/8 x 16.25 in





Stanislaus was born in Poland and received his formal art training at the Fine Arts Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was one of Jean Leone Gerome's pupils, where he most likely received first hand exposure to Orientalist subject matter.


He also worked as an attache at the Court of Sultan Abdulaziz in Turkey, where he saw middle eastern architectural elements first hand. Many of his paintings done in oil or water color depict historical themes and the people of Turkey.

In this painting the artist chose to paint two Circassian guards who wear the traditional fur trimmed hats and long coats associated as their uniform. The attention to detail is lovely, but what I find most interesting is that the artist chose to highlight the background, rather than place the first figure in a more brightly lit space.

Both men are meant to be guards, yet only one of them - the younger has a proud stance and is holding or wearing all his weapons. The older man in the background seems to have a more resigned stance and seems to look out at the viewer rather than at his companion.

It is an intriguing composition and I wonder what the artist's message was.


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