Jean Léone Gérôme 1824-1904
The Snake Charmer, 1870
Signed lower left, J.L Gerome 1880
Medium: Oil on Canvas/huile sur toile
Size: 33 x 48 in (83.8 x 122.1 cm)
Location:as of 2007 at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
The Snake Charmer focuses on a naked boy handling a python while an old man plays a fipple flute. Watching intently is a group of mercenaries differentiated by the distinctive costumes of their tribes, by ornaments, and by weapons. Such erotic and exotic imagery of Near Eastern subjects was very popular in the late nineteenth century. Despite the nearly photographic realism employed by Gérome, the painting is a pastiche of Egyptian, Turkish, and Indian elements that have no basis in reality.
Source: The Clark Institute