Café House, Cairo (Casting Bullets), probably 1870s
Jean–Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904)
Oil on canvas; 21 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (54.6 x 62.9 cm)
Signed (center left): J.L. GEROME
Bequest of Henry H. Cook, 1905 (05.13.4)
Bashi-bazouks, mercenary soldiers in the army of the Turkish sultan, were known for their lawlessness and brutality, but Gérôme usually depicted them at leisure rather than engaged in battle. His frequent repetitions of the subject over a thirty-year period, in conjunction with a style that matured early and changed little, make these canvases difficult to date. The present picture is thought to have been painted in the 1870s.