While many nineteenth-century European artists were known for their “exotic” North African and Middle Eastern subjects, the American expatriate Edwin Lord Weeks was exceptional in also undertaking paintings based on three remarkable extended visits to India (in 1882, 1886, and 1892). In these works, Weeks’s virtuoso talent for the dynamic transcription of brilliant light and color allowed him to represent subjects that some genteel Western audiences might otherwise have found unacceptable. Here, he offered the brightly colorful, if weathered, tiled façade of a mosque as a diverting counterpoint to the figure subject of two armed men in conversation with an old man in a dhoti (a traditional Indian garment).
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Edwin Lord Weeks (American, 1849-1903). The Old Blue-Tiled Mosque Outside of Delhi, India, ca. 1885. Oil on canvas, 31 5/16 x 25 1/2 in. (79.6 x 64.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George D. Pratt, 15.300