Pool in a Harem  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pool in a Harem[1] (1876) is a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme currently at the Hermitage Museum.

European men made the Harem out to be a kind of plush private bordello; this painting has more than a little of this notion in it. The problem for European artists was that no European could obtain access to a Harem. Their fantasy depictions of it were therefore obviously pure inventions and often hardly believable. (see Jean-Léon Gérôme's 1876 Pool in a Harem, for example) In contrast, Delacroix's The Women of Algiers could rely upon his own eyes, which lends his work a special heft, believability and authority.

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