OLD MASTER PAINTINGS, ORIENTALIST ART

Egyptian Water Carrier

Artist: Jean Leone Gerome (French 1824-1904)

Title: Egyptian Water Carrier (c1882)

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Jean-Leon Gerome (May 11, 1824 - January 10, 1904) was a French painter and sculptor who travelled greatly during his lifetime and recorded what he saw with minute detail in his paintings. He worked in a style now known as Academicism. The range of his portfolio included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects. He was a highly regarded artist and teacher who brought  the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.

I like how Gerome has painted this woman with half of her face cloaked in shadow. This is a simple pyramidical figure composition painted in oil. It almost looks like a character study, since the artist sole focus seems to be on the woman's gaze. He only hints at the earthen ware, by showing us the top part of the water jug. Although this woman was probably very poor, the artist posed the hands very delicately, elevating her status to that of a woman of better means.  

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