Scene in the Jewish Quarter of Constantine

Artist: Théodore Chassériau (French, Le Limon, Saint-Domingue, West Indies 1819–1856 Paris)

Date: 1851

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 22 3/8 x 18 1/2 in. (56.8 x 47 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, The Annenberg Foundation Gift, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.285


Chassériau witnessed this scene and sketched it in his notebook during a trip to Algeria in 1846. From the ancient town of Constantine he wrote, "I have seen some highly curious things: primitive and overwhelming, touching and singular. At Constantine, which is high up in some enormous mountains, one sees the Arab people and the Jewish people [living] as they were at the beginning of time." The Jewish women of North Africa were especially attractive subjects for European painters because they did not wear veils.