In celebration of the 10th anniversary of its dedication, the Kenneth Jay Lane Gallery (gallery 804) is the setting for 26 paintings that have been promised or given to The Met by Mr. Lane. The European artists represented in this exhibition, including Horace Vernet (1789–1863) and Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), shared a deeply ingrained fascination for the cultures that thrived beyond the Mediterranean, from Morocco in the west to Egypt and Turkey in the east. Most of these Orientalist painters, as they are traditionally known, traveled to those places and later incorporated what they saw into scenes of everyday life or historical themes—sometimes objectively and at other times based on largely imagined notions of the exotic. This gallery serves as a crossroads both figuratively and literally: nearby are galleries of European paintings as well as the art of North Africa and the Middle East.
Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904). Bashi-Bazouk (detail), ca. 1868–69. Oil on canvas, 10 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (26 x 21.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Partial and Promised Gift of Kenneth Jay Lane, 2014 (2014.435.1)