Prosper Marilhat (1811 - 1847)

Lot 150: Prosper Georges Antoine Marilhat , French 1811-1847 VIEW OF THE SOUTH OF THE NECROPOLIS IN CAIRO WITH THE CITADEL IN THE BACKGROUND oil on canvas


October 23, 2008
New York, NY, US

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Description: signed P. MARILHAT and dated 1839 (lower right); LPO crown stencil on the reverse oil on canvas
Dimensions: measurements 33 1/2 by 51 7/8 in. alternate measurements 85.1 by 131.8 cm
Literature: A. Arnoud, "Le Commerce," March 6-April 20, 1840
E. Bareste, "Revue du XIXe siécle," V p. 174
E. J. Delecluze, "Journal des Débats," March 19, 1840
Théophile Gautier, "La Presse," March 27, 1840
P. Haussard, "Le Temps," March 13-27,1840
Fabien Pillet, "Le Moniteur Universel," March 6, 1840
Gustave Planche, "Revue des Deux Mondes," April 1, 1840, t. XXII, p. 108
Alphonse Royer, "Le Siècle," March 6-28, 1840
Zacharie Astruc, "Le Salon Intime Marilhat-Decamps," Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1860, pp. 86-87
Théophile Gautier, "Exposition de 1860," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, t. V, p. 290, reproduced in an engraving by M. Piaud p. 291
A. Tardieu, Grand dictionnaire biographique du Puy de Dôme, Moulins, 1878, p. 71 (as an "admirable picture")
H. Gomot, Marilhat et son oeuvre, Clermont-Ferrand, 1884, pp. 98-99, note 9 append (as "one of the masterpieces of the Master")
J.M. Carré, Voyageurs et écrivains français en Egypte, Cairo, 1932-35, tome II, p. 193
Danièle Menu, "Prosper Marilhat, essai de catalogue," Maîtrise d'histoire de l'art, Dijon, 1972, no. 242, p. 89
Provenance: Louis-Philippe, comte de Paris (1838-1894)
Louis Philippe, Duc d'Orléans (his son, 1869-1926)
Collection of Mr. van Isacker (1860)
Sale: Sotheby's, Paris, October 19, 2006, lot 7, illustrated
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Notes: We would like to thank Caroline Williams for providing additional catalogue information.
Marilhat was in Cairo in the early 1830's, which anticipates by several years similar topographical views by David Roberts and Robert Hay. The present work, a view of the Southern Necropolis, is likely unique and serves as a valuable historical document as it depicts the area near the shrine of Sayyida Nafisa before it was extensively aggrandized by Muhammad Ali's descendants. The view is from the north and east and suggests the artist observed the scene from a position on the rubbish mounds of the Hills of Zeinhom (the ruins covering al-Fustat, the city that preceded Fatimid Cairo). Directly in front of the viewer is the Mausoleum of Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil, 1288. (He defeated the Crusaders at Acre in 1291 driving them from the Syrian mainland.) Next to his tomb (built of reddish brick) on the left are the remains of the minaret and tomb of Fatima Khatun, 1284, the wife of Sultan Qalawun, and the mother of his eldest son and first heir. Behind Khalil's dome is the Citadel as it was before Muhammad Ali Pasha began building his great mosque on its summit (c.1830-1850). The Muqattam Hills recede in this distance with the Mosque of al-Guyushi, 1085, perched on the ridge. Below al-Guyushi are the domes and minarets of Mamluk funerary establishments of the fourteenth century. On the left, in the nearer distance, are the burial places around the shrine of Sayyida Nafisa, who as one of the ahl al-bayt, (family of the Prophet Muhammad), is deeply revered and one of Cairo's guardian saints.
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