The White Slave (1888)

In de Nouy’s painting , the white slave appears as a courtesan of the Ottoman empire, enjoying the luxurious life of the harem as she smokes and snacks on an array of delicacies. In the background, we see two black slaves working in the background,  one stops while squeezing out a cloth to gaze at the white slave who is partially obscured by the curtain separating her from the household chores. De Nouy’s attention to detail in this and other works can be attributed to his travels in the Middle East, and he often took time to painstakingly reproduce the designs and patterns he saw abroad in his Orientalist paintings.

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