Ernst's fascination with Islamic culture was sparked by his journeys to Andalusia, the Ottoman Empire, and Egypt in the 1880s, and his paintings reflect not only his skills as an artist but the breadth of his knowledge of the cultures he visited. His meticulous finished paintings are worked up from the sketches, photographs, and props and costumes brought back to Paris from his travels. The close cropping of the present composition, particularly of the figure on the right, is clearly indebted to photography, and gives it the sense of a snap shot of everyday life.
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