Two Ladies and a Child Reposing in the Harem
Arts of the Islamic World
Armenian and Georgian by birth, Antoin Sevruguin (died 1933) spent most of his adult life as a resident of Iran. This photograph attributed to him offers a look into the harem of the Qajar ruler Nasir al-Din Shah (ruled 1848–1896). If the photograph is indeed Sevruguin's, it would indicate an unprecedented level of access to the private quarters of the ruler's court. Such openness speaks to the great enthusiasm for photography at
the time, especially from the king himself. Nasir al-Din was the first Qajar ruler to visit Europe and is credited for introducing many Western ideas and fashions to the Iranian public. The skirt worn by the woman in this photograph, for example, was probably inspired by the ruler's love of the French ballet. The artist approaches his subjects with a sympathetic eye, avoiding an ethnographic voyeurism common in other contemporary Western photographers' interpretations of similar subjects.
Albumen silver photograph
late 19th century
6 3/16 x 8 3/16 in. (15.7 x 20.8 cm) (show scale)
Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar
This item is not on view
Antoin Sevruguin. Two Ladies and a Child Reposing in the Harem, late 19th century. Albumen silver photograph, 6 3/16 x 8 3/16 in. (15.7 x 20.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchase gift of Leona Soudavar in memory of Ahmad Soudavar, 1997.3.14 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.3.14_IMLS_PS3.jpg)
overall, 1997.3.14_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2009
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