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The Revolt at Cairo

Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson French

Not on view

Recently rediscovered, these drawings and the pastel that hangs nearby are part of a group of studies Girodet made in preparation for his canvas "The Revolt of Cairo," commissioned by Napoleon in 1809. The two sketches in black chalk show the artist’s earliest conceptions for the overall composition. As Girodet was not present during the Napoleonic army’s violent suppression of an uprising in Cairo following the French invasion and occupation of the city in 1798, these turbulent scenes of conflict are creations of his fertile imagination. Remarkably, the finished painting retains many elements already present in the drawings, including the posture of the charging French hussar (light cavalryman) with sword raised above his head and the collapsed figure of the wounded Mamluk bey, an elite member of the Egyptian military class, in the arms of a Moorish defender.

The Revolt at Cairo, Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson (French, Montargis 1767–1824 Paris), Black chalk on blue paper

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