Loading...

A Visual Analysis of Jean-Léon Gérôme's "The Muezzin's Call to Prayer"

Submitted Assignment 2016 19 Pages

Didactics - English - Miscellaneous

Excerpt

Content

Introduction

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Orientalism

Artistic Principles and Elements

Visual Analysis

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Image Sources

Introduction

The purpose of this essay is to provide a visual analysis of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s 1879 oil-painting: A Muezzin Calling From The Top Of A Minaret The Faithful To Prayer sometimes referred to simply as The Muezzin's Call to Prayer. For the sake of time and space, this essay will be using the latter title. This painting should not be confused with his similarly named (as well as thematically and visually similar) 1866 oil-painting: The Muezzin (The Call to Prayer).

As stated previously, the painted was conceived in 1879 with oil on canvas. It is an example of Orientalism (part of the Realism movement) and is currently located in a private collection. Little information about where the painting was created can be ascertained—he was, however, known to have made many trips to Egypt during his lifetime, so it was likely that it was on one of these such trips that he created the painting. Is said to be about 25.98 inches wide x 35.83 inches tall.[1]

Before diving into the visual analysis, it may be appropriate to provide a brief biography of the artist and background for Orientalism. These sections of the essay will attempt brevity while providing as much background information as possible, so that the reader better understands the artist, movement, and the period and forces behind the painting. It will also be beneficial to provide some background on artistic principles and artistic elements.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Gérôme, Jean-Leon. The Muezzin's Call to Prayer. 1879. Private Collection. Unknown.

The Muezzin's Call to Prayer

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme was a pioneering Orientalist painter and sculptor from Haute-Saône’s Vesoul Prefecture (in France’s Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region). He was born in 1824.[2] At about the age of 16, Gérôme went to Paris to study under Paul Delaroche. He later followed Delaroche to Italy between 1843 and 1844, where he visited such art capitals as Florence, Rome and the Vatican, and the ancient city of Pompeii.[3] It is possible that he intended to stay in Italy longer, but he cut his trip short in 1844 after falling ill. Following his return to France, Gérôme studied with Charles Gleyre before attending the École des Beaux-Arts.[4]

At this point in his life, his goal was to win the Prix de Rome, which he entered in 1846. He, however, failed to pass the final round because his “figure drawings were inadequate.”[5] Despite this setback, one of his paintings (The Cock Fight) set in the Bay of Naples gained notable success with a third place prize at the Salon of 1847.[6] This piece became a symbolic representation of the “New-Grec” movement promoted by Charles Gleyre. With its sudden success, he forgot about his failures in the Prix de Rome and focused on other pieces for the Salons of 1848 and ’49.[7]

These new successes soon brought his artistic talents into the interest of Napoleon III— which launched his career further still. With commissions from the emperor and his court, in 1852, Gérôme was able to fund his first trips to the Near-East. His first artistic travels brought him to Istanbul, Anatolia, and Greece. He was soon receiving commissions for various nobles, socialites, and cathedrals all over Paris. In 1856, Gérôme first visited Egypt.[8][9][10]

With his first trip to Egypt, Gérôme’s career took a turn from Neo-Grec to Orientalism (both of which fall under the Academicism realm of Realism). Many of his paintings would depict Arab religion and North African landscapes. With this change in his subject matter, his success as an artist grew considerably. In 1858 he was commissioned to help decorate the Parisian home of Napoleon I’s nephew (and Napoleon III’s cousin). He later attempted a return to the Neo-Grec movement, but discovered that his work in this area found little interest with patrons or the public—thus forcing his hand back toward Orientalism.[11]

By the 1860s, Gérôme got married to the daughter of an art dealer, started his own school of art, and became a member of the Institut de France (a famous academic society). He continued to receive honors and awards throughout the decade, not only in France us also in Britain and Prussia. He was even invited to the grand opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, and became a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts.[12][13]

At this point, Expressionism and Impressionism were budding movements in Europe. In a return to the Salon in the 1870s, Gérôme initially protested these movements— not caring for their “decadence” and the artistic interpretation that accompanied them.[14] This dislike stemmed from his own Academic and Realist background which promotes and appreciates the artistic ability to copy onto canvas what the artists’ eyes see in fine detail. They were two greatly contrasting and opposing schools are art. Unfortunately, Gérôme’s public outcry against Impressionism initially setback his influence and career. His career and face in the public eye did recover in the 1880s after declaring that the style was “not so bad as I thought" after reportedly viewing some of Édouard Manet’s work.[15]

The last years of Gérôme’s life saw him welcome the growing popularity of photography, for the photograph could do exactly which Academic and Realistic painters had been attempting to do for as long as humans have been painting— copying with accuracy the world around as it truly was. Gérôme is quoted as declaring:

"Thanks to photography, Truth has at last left her well."[16]

Gérôme’s career and life came to and end one January in 1904. He was given a small funeral, which was attended by a former President of the French Republic, as well as many other politicians and famous artists and writers. He was buried in Paris, across from a statue that he had sculpted himself.[17]

[...]


[1] “Jean-Léon Gérôme, the Complete Works.” JeanleonGérôme.org. 2016. Retrieved 2 November, 2016. http://www.jeanleonGérôme.org/A-Muezzin-Calling-From-The-Top-Of-A-Minaret-The-Faithful-To-Prayer.html.

[2] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[3] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[4] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[5] “Jean-Léon Gérôme, the Complete Works.” JeanleonGérôme.org. 2016. Retrieved 2 November, 2016. http://www.jeanleonGérôme.org/biography.html.

[6] “Musée d’Orsay, the Neo-Grec Period.” musee-orsay.fr. 2006. Retrieved 2 November, 2016. http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay-more/page/1/article/jean-leon-Gérôme-25691.html?cHash=21536b366b.

[7] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[8] “Musée d’Orsay, Gérôme’s Imanginary Orients.” musee-orsay.fr. 2006. Retrieved 2 November, 2016. http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay-more/page/5/article/jean-leon-Gérôme-25691.html?cHash=93a48a4db2.

[9] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[10] Rosenthal, Donald A. Orientalism, the Near East in French painting, 1800-1880. Rochester, New York: Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, 1982.

[11] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[12] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

[13] Weinberg, H. Barbara. Thomas Eakins, Philadelphia Museum of Art, metmuseum.org. October 2004. Retrieved 2 November 2016. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/eapa/hd_eapa.htm

[14] Seed, John. “Jon Swihart: Jean-Léon Gérôme Is His Master.” The Huffington Post. 12 August, 201. Retrieved 3 November, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/jon-swihart-jean-leon-ger_b_678758.html.

[15] Seed, John. “Jon Swihart: Jean-Léon Gérôme Is His Master.” The Huffington Post. 12 August, 201. Retrieved 3 November, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-seed/jon-swihart-jean-leon-ger_b_678758.html.

[16] “Jean-Léon Gérôme, the Complete Works.” JeanleonGérôme.org. 2016. Retrieved 2 November, 2016. http://www.jeanleonGérôme.org/biography.html.

[17] Ackerman, Gerald. La Vie et l'œuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme , Paris, France: ACR Édition, 2000.

Details

Pages
19
Year
2016
ISBN (eBook)
9783668353404
ISBN (Book)
9783668353411
File size
601 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v345082
Institution / College
Westminster College
Grade
95.0
Tags
english orientalism oriental fine art art history history visual art painting jean-leon gerome france essay oil on canvas

Author

Share

Previous

Title: A Visual Analysis of Jean-Léon Gérôme's "The Muezzin's Call to Prayer"