WARNING: ORIENTALIST PAINTINGS DEPICTING FEMALE NUDITY FOLLOW.
Raymond Ibrahim : Last year, a political party in Germany provoked controversy when it used the following painting in its election campaign to illustrate one of the reasons it was against immigration.
Painted in France in 1866 and titled “Slave Market,” the painting was described
as “show[ing] a black, apparently Muslim slave trader displaying a
naked young woman with much lighter skin to a group of men for
examination,” probably in North Africa.
The Alternative for Germany party (AfD) put up several posters of
this painting with the slogan, “So that Europe won’t become Eurabia.”
Many on both sides of the Atlantic were “triggered” by this usage; even
the American museum where the original painting is housed sent AfD a letter “insisting that they cease and desist in using this painting” (even though it is in the public domain).
Objectively speaking, the “Slave Market” painting in question
portrays a reality that has played out countless times over the
centuries: African, Asiatic, and Middle Eastern Muslims have long
targeted European women—so much so as to have enslaved millions of them
over the centuries (see Sword and Scimitar for copious documentation).
As it happens, there is something else—another medium besides writing—that documents this reality: countless more
paintings than the one in question concerning the abduction,
trafficking, and sexual enslavement of European women; altogether they
further underscore the ubiquity and notoriety of this phenomenon.
Indeed, this was such a well-known theme that many nineteenth and early
twentieth century artists and painters specialized in it, often based on
their own eye-witness accounts. (As one art gallery
puts it, “Many … of the most important painters did travel [to the
Muslim world] themselves, and what they painted was based on the
sketches they had made while they were there…)
Below are just 20 such paintings (there are many more). Aside from
noting the artist’s name, year of painting, and, where possible,
title—information which is often difficult to ascertain—I’ve limited my
remarks to important asides and clarifications, mostly in the first few
paintings, leaving the rest to speak for themselves. They follow.
“The Bulgarian Martyresses,” by Konstantin Makovsky, 1877. It
depicts events from a year earlier, when Ottoman irregular soldiers (the
so-called bashi-bazouks or “crazy heads”) raped and massacred
the Christian women of Bulgaria and their children. American journalist
MacGahan, who reported from Bulgaria, wrote the following of this
incident: “When a Mohammedan has killed a certain number of infidels he
is sure of Paradise, no matter what his sins may be.…[T]he ordinary
Mussulman takes the precept in broader acceptation, and counts women and
children as well…. the Bashi-Bazouks, in order to swell the count,
ripped open pregnant women, and killed the unborn infants.”
“The Abduction of a Herzegovinian Woman,” by Jaroslav Čermák, 1861. From the museum’s official description:
“Disturbing and extremely evocative, it depicts a white, nude [and
pregnant?] Christian woman being abducted from her village by the
Ottoman mercenaries who have killed her husband and baby.”
“The Abduction,” by Eduard Ansen-Hofmann (1820-1904).
“The Slave Market,” by Otto Pilny, 1910.
“Abducted,” by Eduard Ansen-Hofmann (1820–1904).
“Namona,” by Henri Tanoux, 1883.
“The Bitter Draught of Slavery,” by Ernest Norman, 1885.
“A New Arrival,” by Giulio Rosati (1858–1917).
“The New Slave Girl,” by Eduard Ansen-Hofmann (1820-1904).
“Examining Slaves,” by Ettore Cercone, 1890.
“Slave Dealer,” by Otto Pilny, 1919.
“Slave Market,” by Eduard Ansen-Hofmann, 1900.
“Slave Trade Negotiations,” by Fabio Fabbi (1861-1946).
“White Slavery in the East—Going to the Slave Market,” by Harper’s Weekly, April 1875.
“New Arrival,” by Eduard Ansen-Hofmann (1820-1904).
“The Serbian Concubine,” by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, 1876.
“Slave Market,” by Émile Jean-Horace Vernet, 1836.
“Slave Market,” by Jean-Leon Gerome, 1871.
“Harem Captive,” by Eisenhut Ferencz, 1903.
“Scene from the Harem,” by Fernand Cormon, 1877.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West,
is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a
Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, and a Judith
Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.