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When you view the above image, it might be hard to believe that it was painted by the same artist who painted the image on this page. The artist, French painter & sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) painted a vast range of subjects including portraits & landscapes as well as the 'oriental' images for which he is renowned. The above page has links to biographical data re the artist, sources of archives of his work, etc. etc., & I refer you there to avoid repetition.

The artist travelled extensively to the Near East, Egypt & Asia Minor. He visited Constantinople twice in 1875 and in Bursa, 65 or so miles south of present day Istanbul as the crow flies, he visited the Sinan Baths & made sketches of the interior. In his words 'As the temperature was extremely high, I did not hesitate to make myself... completely naked; seated on my campstool, my colour box on my knees, my palette in my hand, I was a little grotesque'. The bathing scenes, of which this is a superb example, are, apart from the settings, figments of the artist's imagination, as no man, let alone a westerner, would ever have been permitted access to a women's bath. I gather that there have been hot springs & baths in Bursa since Roman times. The baths that Gérôme visited & painted were, I presume, those built in 1552 using plans possibly designed by master builder, Sinan.

The full image (I could use just a part due to size limitations) can be seen on Carol Gerten-Jackson's CGFA sites & particularly here. The original c. 1876 painting, 73.5 x 62 cm in size, entitled 'Pool in a Harem', an oil on canvas, is in the Hermitage, in St. Petersburg, Russia & previously, prior to 1918, was in the Anichkov Palace in Petrograd. The image, in exceptional quality, can in fact be seen on many WWW websites.

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