Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mosque - La Pri'ere au Tombeau

by Ludwig Deutsch (Austrian Orientalist, 1855-1930)
signed and dated ' Le Caire 1898"
oil on panel 27 x 23.38 in (68.5 x 59.5 cm)

Deutsch painted the tomb chamber at the Aqsunqur Mosque in Cairo. The mosque was originally built in 1346, but received a major renovation in 1652. This is when the Ottoman blue tiles were added, hence the name " Blue Mosque".

Images of piety and prayer were depicted by many of the Orientalist painters. Unlike European churches that often were decorated excessivly, the interior of a mosque was a rather empty, spacious environment adorned mainly by intricate tilework.

In this work Deutsch has given us a sense of the spaciousness of the mosque through the use of the many vertical elements in the picture. To anchore the main figure, he has chosen to place him between the two vertical columns of the tomb and cleverly framed him, by starting the tile work on the back wall at the same level of the columns.

His color choice for the garment is also intersting. The vibrant red is a nice compliment to the blues and sets his main figure apart from the surroundings.

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