This picture was painted in Rome by Vernet immediately after the first of five visits he was to make to Algeria. It was the first of many Orientalist paintings he exhibited at the Paris Salon and elsewhere. It was painted for the 12th Earl of Pembroke who at the time lived in Paris, like the 4th Marquess of Hertford. The tale-teller in the right foreground wears a grey and white striped burnouse; the classically posed girl on the left (her pose derived from the Venus de Milo) recalls the nobility which Vernet and other European artists in the nineteenth century discerned in the common people of North Africa and the Middle East.
Where to see this painting?
The Wallace Collection
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