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Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo

Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo

Drawing, Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo, 1831-1832, by Prosper Georges Antoine Marilhat

This masterly drawing represents a view looking north along part of the Darb al-Ahmar (now Sharia Bab al-Wazir). On the right is a corner of the Palace of Alin Aq (now almost destroyed); next, the Mosque and Tomb of Amir Khayrbak; behind this, the Mosque of Aqsunqur, also known as the Blue Mosque or the Mosque of Ibrahim Agha. It is an excellent example of Marilhat’s sensitive use of his chosen media – pencil and red chalk – not only to render precisely each architectural detail but also to convey the contrasts of light and shade, and to suggest the hot, dusty atmosphere of the Cairo street.

Marilhat travelled in the Near East with the botanist and traveller Baron Karl von Hugel in 1831-32, and stayed on in Egypt for a further year making topographical studies, such as the one shown here, as well as portraits of notable people, including Muhammad Ali, Viceroy of Egypt. After his return to France he exhibited Orientalist paintings for ten years. These won great critical acclaim, and many engravings and lithographs after his work were published.

Place of Origin: Egypt (drawn)

Date: 1831-1832 (drawn)

Artist/maker : Marilhat, Prosper Georges Antoine (artist)

Materials and Techniques: Pencil and red chalk

Dimensions: Height: 47.4 cm, Width: 32.5 cm

Object history note: According to Rodney Searight: – `The Fine Art Society, 1978.’

Subjects depicted: Egypt; Mosques; Sharia Bab al-Wazir; Mosque and Tomb of Amir Khayrbak; Mosque of Amir Aqsunqur

Source: V&A Collections, Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case SCX, shelf 1

 

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