Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:35 x 29 1/2 in. (88.9 x 74.9 cm)
Credit Line:Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887
Orientalist images represent more than two-thirds of Gérôme’s painted oeuvre and are based on his travels in the Near East, especially North Africa. Paul-Marie Lenoir, Gérôme’s student and one of his traveling companions, recorded a description of their 1868 visit to the Egyptian mosque of ‘Amr in Cairo, founded in A.D. 640, whose interior Gérôme depicted in this painting. The rows of worshipers, ranging from the dignitary and his attendants to the loincloth-clad Muslim holy man, face Mecca during one of the five daily prayers. It is unlikely, however, that Gérôme witnessed such a scene at this particular mosque, which, by 1868, had fallen into disuse. Rather, the image is probably a composite of sketches as well as photographs of various sites.
[Goupil & Cie, Paris, 1874; stock no. 9275, purchased on September 23 for Fr 20,000; sold on November 5, for Fr 40,000, to Knoedler]; [M. Knoedler, New York, 1874; sold on November 13, for $10,670, to Wolfe]; Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, New York (1874–d. 1887; her bequest to MMA)