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Phanariot Greek Ladies

Daniel Valentine Rivière (?)

Mixed media on paper, 38 x 49 cm
Circa 1840

This painting, which depicts the interior of a house in the first half of the 19th century, portrays a lady sitting on the sofa, and her servant holding a pipe to offer to her lady. The figures are surrounded by various objects of Ottoman domestic life. The habit of drinking coffee and smoking pipes, which were important elements of harem life that also intrigued many western artists since the early 18th century, stand out in the painting. One of the earliest examples representing a similar theme, which had a significant impact in the subsequent periods, is Vanmour’s “Turkish Girl Drinking Coffee on the Sofa” from his Recueil de cent estampes representant différentes nations du Levant.