Cafe House, Cairo (Casting Bullets)

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

Date: 1884 or earlier

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 21 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (54.6 x 62.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Henry H. Cook, 1905

Accession Number: 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, as he did here, rather than engaged in battle. His frequent repetitions of the subject over a thirty-year period, in conjunction with a technique that matured early and changed little, make these canvases difficult to date on the basis of style alone. Gérôme probably completed this painting soon before he sold it to his Parisian dealer, Goupil, in 1884.