Portrait of a "Mamelouk"

Horace Vernet French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 634

This debonair early portrait by Vernet, a leading battle painter of the nineteenth century, is thought to depict one of hundreds of Middle Easterners who sought refuge in France following Napoleon’s unsuccessful invasion of Egypt in 1798–1801. The sitter’s name is unknown, but he is identifiable by his garments as a member of the corps of Mamluks, conscripted by Napoleon as part of the French military. Their ranks were later filled by native-born Frenchmen; elements of their dress permeated civilian fashion.

Portrait of a "Mamelouk", Horace Vernet (French, Paris 1789–1863 Paris), Oil on canvas

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