Eugene Delacroix’s Women of Algiers in their Apartment is a Romanticism and Classicism masterpiece depicting an exotic harem where four women are portrayed in a beautifully ornamented room. The three seated women wear noteworthy dresses adorned with jewelry, while another engages herself in reading. The painting was a product of Delacroix’s rich experience traveling through North Africa.
This painting caused quite the commotion when it was first displayed at Paris Salon in 1834 and became one of the artist’s most celebrated works of art. It represented Delacroix’s interpretation of the beauty he saw in the Algerian harems during his visit to Morocco. He skillfully combined different styles, emphasizing intricate decorative details that embody Islamic art, with Western themes such as nude figures and suggestive poses.
Women have long been depicted as subjects within Orientalist paintings, often perpetuating exoticized depictions that serve to reinforce patriarchal power structures. Delacroix’s portrayal of these women is undoubtedly controversial; however, it is also essential to note his excellent draughtsmanship techniques employed in portraying these individuals’ beauty.