The Terrace of the Seraglio by Jean-Leon Gerome

Jean-Leon Gerome was a famous painter and sculptor of France in the 19th century. Seemingly he was inherited from neoclassicism, but actually he was keen on romanticism. Although Gerome was unaware of adding romanticism in his works, the classical rigorously composition, strong oriental flavor and exotic atmosphere made people feel his romantic trend. In 1856 Gerome went to Egypt and the Near East and developed his keen interest in the oriental culture. Therefore he painted many works depicting the local customs of Egyptian and Near Eastern. After the exhibition at the Paris salon, his works created a great sensation. In 1868, he followed the geologists through the Sinai desert and arrived in port Alexander in Cairo. Regardless of this very dangerous journey, the oriental culture gave the painter a very deep impression. The Arabia market, Turkey bathroom and bath of maids, Islamic religious ceremonies, and the chambers with the mysterious colors seemed to be mysterious, interesting, beautiful and amazing.

Gerome was a student of the romantic painter Delaroche, but he was good at using the rigorous lines like Ingres. The Terrace of the Seraglio made by Gerome depicted the most secret imperial life of the Arabia palace. And this painting also portrayed the lives of the princesses and the maids. Some were in the bath, some were chatting, and some were meditating…almost all showed a melancholy and vacant look. The beautiful terrace was as cold as a cell suffering the oppression. Only the outside gazebo had the clear sky and the fresh air. Both the composition and color processing were left with the classical principle of preciseness, harmonious contrast and attention to detail, characters, clothing and building which were especially important to the performance of the texture and the exotic sense.

The Terrace of the Seraglio

The Terrace of the Seraglio

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