Sunday, 29 April 2018

Slave Market

My novel Heart of Flame (currently being revised for re-publication) has a Middle Eastern setting but it's a romance, and therefore quite restrained. I've treated my subjects and their setting with respect, I hope.

So I need to get this shameless Orientalist exploitation out of my system RIGHT NOW 😈😈😈

Jean-Léon Gérôme: The Slave Market (1866)

It's time for a trip to the 19th Century ARABIC SLAVE MARKET! (All pictures by amoral white guys, for pervy white guys, decrying the voluptuous, perverted wickedness of not-white-people in leering detail. 😛 )

Gérôme gets first billing of course, simply for quality of artwork and his tendency to genuine realism:

Selling Slaves in Cairo

But other artists lean further toward romanticism...

Fabio Fabbi (1861-1946): Her Master's Choice

The Slave Market

The Slave Market  (he was not hot on original titles, or composition)
Okay, we get it, Fabbi ... NEXT

Stanislaus Von Chlebowski (1835-1884): Appraisal

Ernest Normand: The Bitter Draught of Slavery (1885)

Francesco Gonin (1808-1889): At the Slave Market
Giulio Rosati (1858-1917): Inspecting New Arrivals

Luigi Crosio (1835-1915): At the Slave Market
Ettore Circone (1850-1901):  Examining slaves
Pierre Louis Cazaubon (1872-1950): The Slave Market
Henri Adrien Tanoux (1865-1923): Slave Market
Alfredo Valenzuela Puelma: The Merchant's Pearl (1884)
As you might be able to guess, I could probably go on for a hundred paintings - this was a HUGE theme for a lucrative artistic market. It allowed the Victorian and Edwardian painter to indulge not just his skill in depicting nude female flesh (under a mantle of respectability), but also complex fabrics, fabulous lighting, exotic locations, inherent drama/violence - and a subtext of implied racial superiority if the viewer so chose. It really was the genre which had everything.

I'll finish with some paintings from Otto Pilny (1866-1936), who managed to encapsulate the creepier end of the genre, with his grinning men and and his slave women who mysteriously manage to look rather like silent movie starlets:

Pilny's paintings, btw, found enormous favour among the Ottoman rulers of Egypt, who appointed him court painter. So it wasn't just Western male tastes he was catering to.

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