Street in Meknes, 1832
Oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 25 1/4 inches (46.4 x 64.1 cm)
Elisabeth H. Gates and Charles W. Goodyear Funds, 1948
In early 1832, Eugène Delacroix accompanied Count Charles de Mornay on a goodwill mission to the Sultan of Morocco in Meknes on behalf of the King of France. Delacroix’s role was to document the mission, and throughout its five months kept a travel journal with notes and sketches to use in future paintings.
No Westerner had ever seen Meknes, and Count de Mornay’s group was given permission to explore the city. Anyone who wanted to do so however, such as Delacroix, had to hire an armed guard since certain areas were potentially unsafe for foreigners. Street in Meknes, painted after his return to Paris, is a composite of several sketches, intended, in part, to satisfy European curiosity about exotic peoples and places. The architecture with its Islamic-style arch and window, the pottery and textiles in the alcove, and the clothing of the people, provide a glimpse into Moroccan culture. The artist was especially fascinated by the inhabitants, who here look at him with equal curiosity.
Related Lesson Plan
Traveling Abroad (For Grades 6–12, with adaptations for younger students)
Activities for Families (PDF)
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