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Circassian at the Watering-Trough

Earl Shinn ["Edward Strahan"], Gerome: A Collection of the Works of J.L. Gerome in One Hundred Photgravures. Multiple Volumes. New York: Samuel L. Hall, 1881.

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Art & Architecture



HERE the artist, wearying for once of the cruelty and squalor of Eastern life, has given his sense of beauty full play, and resolved to paint a scene in which none but noble forms should enter—of man and beasts and architecture. The picture is beautiful like a fairy story; the fountain dates from the Arabian Nights; the straightnosed, long-limbed rider, with his steel cap and his mailed arms, is as handsome as St. George. The composition is a piece of nature's best decorative work, built up of some of the most beautiful things she can make—and done for her own especial delectation, regardless of the presence or absence of human spectators. At the bottom of the seas, in the remote places of the earth, in the infinitesimal microscopic world, nature brings together her beautiful things of color and form, animate and inanimate, when there can be no possible appreciative eye but her own to enjoy them. Indeed, to compare little things with great, she is not unlike in her ways to that moody King of Bavaria who sets up all the paraphernalia of his royal opera, the scenic splendors, the orchestra, chorus, and soloists, for an audience composed strictly and entirely of himself.

Long ago, in the times of the first Caliphs, she inspired some architect to erect this graceful stuccoed and recessed fountain, to which

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