The American painter Edwin Lord Weeks is known as a master of Orientalism. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849 to a family of wealthy merchants, who came from the suburbs of Boston - more specifically Newton. His parents worked in the profitable tea and spice market, which enabled the young Weeks to travel as much as he wanted, as well as study painting. He began to paint at around the age of eighteen, in 1867. His early travels include the Republic of Surinam, in South America, and the Florida Keys. By the early 1870s, Weeks’ real talent for painting began to bloom, as his skills of constructing beautiful compositions started to show, as well as his spectacular technique.
A year later, the American artist moved to Paris in search of great masters to tutor him. He then became a pupil of the prestigious Academic artists Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat, quickly emerging as one of the top Orientalist painters of his time. Many Academic painters of this time delved into Orientalism, which strived to depict the aesthetics and cultural aspects of the Middle East. Historians and writers were also highly interested in the subject as well. Weeks was an avid traveler and portrayed his journies as the fundamental theme for his artworks. He began by exploring South America in 1869; a year later he traveled to Egypt and Persia. Between 1872 and 1878, Weeks went to Morocco, where he concluded paintings like The Camel Rider. In 1882, the American artist found more breathtaking motifs in India, where he stayed for approximately a year and painted Old Blue Tiled Mosque Outside of Delhi, India, The Barge of the Maharaja of Benares, Before a Mosque, among others.
Weeks didn’t only register his travels in his paintings but also wrote and illustrated books of his adventures. In 1895, he published the book entitled From the Black Sea Through Persia and India, and Episodes of Mountaineering in 1897. He was deeply praised by the Academy, as he exhibited his artwork virtually every year in the Paris Salon, which granted him a Medal of Honor in 1884. He also received a Third Class Medal and a Gold Medal, both in 1889 at the International Exhibition. Weeks died in November 1903 in Paris, around the age of 54.