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.
- Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson
- Sketch for The Revolt of Cairo
- France (Artist's nationality:)
- Oil and ink on paper, laid down on canvas
- 30.8 × 45.1 cm (12 1/8 × 17 3/4 in.)
- 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