HAREMVALENTINE GALLET Book Number: 85347 Product format: Hardback
Here are the splendours of a forbidden place, the city of women, their occupations and diversions, the pleasures of the bath, the accessories of seduction, the sensual and the cruel, the Orient of all fantasies celebrated in this huge heavyweight coffee table book, dripping with luxurious colour. Odalisque as depicted by Lefebvre from behind naked or by Renoir in beautifully colourful Turkish clothes, both reclining and alluring. This book is the epitome of desire and beauty. Beautiful women in embellished silks, bejewelled and relaxing in the harem, dark skinned servants in attendance anticipate the arrival of a leopard cub in the Royal Palace in Morocco in a Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constance painting of 1874. Of all themes in Orientalist painting, the harem was the one that had the most resounding success, beating virile hunting or battle scenes, or the colourful streets of the Levant. The Imperial Topkapi Palace in Constantinople was a secluded area forbidden to men, called haram in Arabic; except for the chief occupant and the eunuchs, its private apartments were unmatched in their scope and sophistication. They included more than 300 rooms in which the sultan resided along with his mother, his wives, concubines, his favourites and his numerous guardians and attendants, in total several hundred women. A travelling painter, Delacroix was a singular figure who while on diplomatic trips to Morocco and Algeria was greeted into a harem by the Count of Mornay. He was astonished by the beauty of its occupants 'enveloped in silk embroidered with gold' and saw this female sanctuary as a place where the beauty of antiquity was preserved. The theme provided the opportunity to eroticise the female body and the lascivious odalisques of pearly flesh and appetising curves, languidly stretched on soft couches or in a steamy bath, became a commonplace of European painting. Here is a huge visual display in rich colour paintings, many full page in this huge book measuring 11" x 12¼" together with contemporary colour photographs from the interiors of these sumptuous palaces with their imperial halls, Sutlan's throne, dining rooms, lavish fabrics, carpets and interiors, mosaics and tiles, decorated portals, glorious terraces under the sunshine and exquisite gardens and foliage inside the courtyards and patios. Erotic nude images and much more besides in this quality colour art publication from Könemann. 280pp.
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Bibliophile price: £21.00