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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

Eastern Beauty


Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
Paris 1845 – Paris 1902


Eastern Beauty


Before or about 1880


Oil on canvas


120.8 x 80.3 cm


Frederick Angus Bequest, inv. 2008.29


Western Art

The talented colourist Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant was inspired by the famous and well-travelled painter Eugène Delacroix, who filled his sketchbooks with drawings of Spain and Morocco. Eastern Beauty is an alluring portrait that art lovers, avid for exoticism and sensuality, did not find at all shocking. This odalisque with her languid gaze, a glittering akal headband around her long red hair cascading over her shoulders, is wearing a silk bolero edged with braid over a diaphanous blouse. The rich colouring of the scene is heightened by the artificial light coming from inside the room, contrasting with the dark night sky seen through the embrasure. This painting is the expression of a Western fantasy.

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