John Singer Sargent painted Fumee D’Ambris in 1880. This masterpiece was made during his trip to North Africa and was one of the two paintings sent to the prestigious Paris Salon. This piece represents the painter’s take on Orientalism, which was popular amongst modern painters who enjoyed using exotic subjects in their art, like the Impressionists. Sargent began to paint this artwork with a model in Tangier but ultimately finished it in his studio in Paris. The artist adapted the setting from various regions of North Africa, portraying it in exquisite detail, as the costume of the model.
The painting Fumee D’Ambris shows a woman standing wearing an elaborate off-white traditional gown, in which Sargent painted beautifully. The scene seems to be part of a religious ritual, and the environment looks like a temple. The model holds a long fabric over her head as she looks down at an ornamented silver censer that expels smoke. The smoldering substance used was ambergris, a waxy resin found in seawater of tropical regions, which some people say comes from whales. Used as an aphrodisiac and to ward off evil spirits, this exotic substance sprung curiosity in the European viewers. The model most likely lived in cosmopolitan Tangier, where society forced strong rules against women, forcing them to be private and dress a certain way.
Sargent concluded many figure studies before becoming content with the final position of the model. The surroundings transmit a peaceful atmosphere, with towering white walls and ornamented columns – very different from the classic Greek columns the Europeans were used to seeing in oil paintings. The woman is wrapped in various draping white and beige fabrics, and the only part of her body that is visible is her forearm and part of her face. Her expression is intense and passionate, and she wears a unique metal ornament around her neck with two large triangles. Sargent incorporates details in her clothing from different regions and cultures of North Africa.
The tiles of the floor are decorated in geometric patterns, and the woman stands on two crossing ornamented carpets – the one on the back is red, blue, and black, while the one on her front has a tribal pattern in various shades of brown. The overall painting is extremely detailed, but Sargent enables the viewer to observe the visible brush strokes he incorporated.
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Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of Fumee D'Ambris Gris, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of Fumee D'Ambris Gris that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.
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