Artist: Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, Vesoul 1824–1904 Paris)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 35 x 29 1/2 in. (88.9 x 74.9 cm)
Credit Line: Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Bequest of Catharine Lorillard Wolfe, 1887
Accession Number: 87.15.130
Gérôme painted this scene, which depicts the interior of the seventh-century mosque of ‘Amr in Cairo, after his visit to Egypt in 1868. The rows of worshipers, ranging from the dignitary and his attendants to the loincloth-clad Muslim holy man, face Mecca during one of the five daily prayers. It is unlikely, however, that Gérôme witnessed a service at this particular mosque, which had fallen into disuse by 1868. Rather, the image is probably a composite of sketches and photographs of various sites. Gérôme traveled widely in the Middle East; more than two-thirds of his paintings are devoted to Orientalist subjects.