Segments in this Video

"Women of Algiers in the Apartment" Introduction (02:17)


Eastern culture inspired early 19th century romantic artists like Eugène Delacroix. He was disillusioned by the French Empire's fall. In 1834, he presented his composition of harem women to the Paris Salon.

Misconceptions of Oriental Women (03:00)

"Women of Algiers in the Apartment" caused a scandal at the Paris Salon. French society confused harems with brothels, demonstrated in the term "odalisque."

Romantic Inspiration (03:15)

Hear a detailed explanation of the subjects in Delacroix's "Women of Algiers in Their Apartment." The African servant demonstrates his effort to portray reality. His Orientalism was influenced by Lord Byron's fight in the Greek independence war against the Ottoman Empire.

"Women of Algiers in Their Apartment" Authenticity (02:24)

Hear an explanation of wall tiles and room objects. Delacroix turns observers into voyeurs and paints a real experience; in 1832 he was invited to join a French diplomatic mission to Morocco.

Trip to Morocco (03:32)

In 1832, Delacroix traveled to North Africa. Hear Voltaire's description of piracy. As the first French painter in Tangiers, he attempted to replace Orientalist fantasies with reality by sketching what he saw.

Conquest of Algeria (02:08)

After six months in Morocco, Delacroix stopped in Algiers, where he witnessed the horrors of French colonization.

Composing "Women of Algiers in Their Apartment" (02:56)

Delacroix visited a farmer's home in Algiers, where he met the three sisters that inspired his work. View preliminary sketches. He brought back clothing and objects to recreate the setting.

Painting "Women of Algiers in Their Apartment" (02:35)

Delacroix reconstructed the room in Algiers and had a model pose in clothing he'd brought back. View comparisons to previous works. 20th century author Assia Djebar finds the subjects accepting of their confinement.

"Women of Algiers in Their Apartment" Part 2 (02:53)

Delacroix chose to remain silent on the war in Algeria. In 1849, he painted a second version that embraced a more Orientalist aesthetic. Both versions incorporate fantasy and reality.

Credits: Women of Algiers in Their Apartment by Eugène Delacroix: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings (00:41)

Credits: Women of Algiers in Their Apartment by Eugène Delacroix: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings

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Women of Algiers in Their Apartment by Eugène Delacroix: Smart Secrets of Great Paintings

Part of the Series : Smart Secrets of Great Paintings
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As the war of colonization raged in Algeria, Eugène Delacroix was the first French artist to cross the Mediterranean. The naturalism of “Women of Algiers in Their Apartment,” painted in 1834, takes us into the calm and simplicity of a harem as Delacroix saw it with his own eyes.  This documentary looks at his attempts to counter Orientalist fantasies of Middle Eastern women held by European society and discusses his admiration of Lord Byron. It also details his journey through Morocco and Algeria as part of a French diplomatic mission, during which he witnessed the realities of North African culture that inspired him to document and recreate the scene of three sisters in their private quarters.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL114924

ISBN: 978-1-68272-878-9

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.