Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Presentation

The Presentation

Artist: Rudolf Ernst
Title: The Presentation
Signed 'R.Ernst' lower left
Medium: Oil on Panel
Size: (25.5x18 in 65x45.5 cm)
Austrian Orientalist

In the present work it is evident from the nature of the item being presented - a sword - that the occasion is important, while the relative hierarchy between the two men is plain from their postures, their different positions on the steps up to the front door of the house and the relative richness of the draperies worn by them.

Yet to a Western eye as well (and it was for a Western clientel that the work was painted), Ernst also evokes a comfortingly bourgeois image of Middle Eastern life. Although grand, the architectural setting is domestic rather than palatial, and he paints the master of the house as wealthy rather than necessarily princely. Thus without losing the drama and the edge that so clearly came from experiencing the region at first hand, he presented to his prospective audience, most of whom had and never would visit themselves, a reassuringly familiar set of values, albeit wrapped in trappings distinct to the area. In the process, Ernst references all the elements that collectors required in such a work: the richly decorated ceramic tiles, the carpet, the marble and intricately carved window and door.
Source: Artfact

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