Edwin Lord Weeks
- Edwin Lord Weeks
- Rabat (The Red Gate)
- signed and dated E. L. Weeks. Rabat. 1879 lower left; indistinctly inscribed on the reverse
- oil on canvas
A bequest from the above on 21 July 1914
In Rabat, Weeks became fascinated by the kasbah, a fortified citadel built in the twelfth century during the time of the Almohad Caliphate (AD 1121-1269). Having defeated the Almoravids and besieged the city of Rabat, the Almohads destroyed the old kasbah and began the construction of a new one in 1151 AD. Today, the ramparts and gates are amongst the few original parts of the kasbah, testament to the political and religious power of the Almohad Caliphate.
The gate was a spectacular example of highly-ornamented Almohad architecture, characterised by a horse-shoe arch and intertwined arabesques which conveyed elegance and grandeur. Morocco's imposing city gates formed the backdrop to several major French Orientalist works, including Eugène Delacroix's Moulay Abd-Er-Rahman, sultan du Maroc, sortant de son palais de Meknès (Musée des Augustins, Toulouse), or Benjamin-Constant's Les derniers rebelles (Musée d'Orsay).
An enthusiastic traveller, Weeks returned to Morocco in 1880, but subsequently ventured further east, to India, which became the subject of his later work.