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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

Eastern Beauty

Artist

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant
Paris 1845 – Paris 1902

Title

Eastern Beauty

Date

Before or about 1880

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

120.8 x 80.3 cm

Credits

Frederick Angus Bequest, inv. 2008.29

Collection

Western Art

Benjamin-Constant was inspired by Delacroix early in his career. He was further influenced by his travels to Spain and Morocco. His gift for colour is universally admired. An 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 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 successful expression of a Western fantasy.

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