Bridgman imbues the scene with a psychological intensity not only through the effects of chiaroscuro to bring the praying figure into strong relief against the dark background; unlike his teacher, Gérôme, whose numerous prayer scenes depicted the faithful from behind or in profile, with the mosque's mihrab in view, Bridgman shows the worshipper face on, allowing the viewer to share in his moment of surrender.
Born in Alabama, Bridgman arrived in Paris from America in 1866, and entered Gérôme's studio at the École des Beaux-Arts the following year. Under Gérôme’s tutelage, he developed his pictorial skills and became increasingly interested in Orientalist scenes. His first trips to Algeria and Egypt in 1872 provided a lasting inspiration for his artistic production.
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