Jean-Léon Gérôme – A Roman Slave Market

Jean-Léon Gérôme – A Roman Slave Market - 1884
Walters Art Museum
Gérôme painted six slave-market scenes set in either ancient Rome or 19th-century Istanbul. He painted another view of the same event--Slave Market in Rome (St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum)--in which the viewer looks over the heads of the spectators towards the slave. What made this painting unique was the view angle. This approach allowed him with an opportunity to depict facial expressions and to undertake figurative studies of sensual beauty. Here we are as interested in the leering crowd as we are the nude figure. This was controversial because it went against the notion that the nude form should be viewed with a pure and disinterested gaze. To see the original: A Roman Slave Market

Ed Wheeler

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