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Sketch for The Revolt of Cairo

A work made of oil and ink on paper, laid down on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil and ink on paper, laid down on canvas.


About 1810


Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson
French, 1767-1824

About this artwork

This is a preparatory sketch for a monumental painting depicting one of the bloodiest moments of Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt: the suppression of an uprising in Cairo. The conflict included a massacre in the Al-Azhar Mosque of Mamelukes, a military class of enslaved men who occupied much of the Middle East at that time. As there were no surviving eyewitness reports, Girodet was free to interpret the event as he wished, and, as a commission from Napoleon, the painting celebrates the French point of view. Throughout the work, Girodet perpetuates European fantasies of the Middle East as simultaneously opulent and brutal, lavishing attention on Arab and Ottoman turbans, luxurious fabrics, bare flesh, and gore.


On View, Gallery 220


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson


Sketch for The Revolt of Cairo


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil and ink on paper, laid down on canvas


30.8 × 45.1 cm (12 1/8 × 17 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. James W. Alsdorf; Bequest of Luella Thomas; Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial and Alexander A. McKay endowments

Reference Number


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