Prayer in the Mosque

Artist: Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, Vesoul 1824–1904 Paris)

Date: 1871

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 35 x 29 1/2 in. (88.9 x 74.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887

Accession Number: 87.15.130

Description

Gérôme painted this scene, which depicts the interior of the seventh-century mosque of ‘Amr in Cairo, after his visit to Egypt in 1868. 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 a service at this particular mosque, which had fallen into disuse by 1868. Rather, the image is probably a composite of sketches and photographs of various sites. Gérôme traveled widely in the Middle East; more than two-thirds of his paintings are devoted to Orientalist subjects.

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