Gyula Tornai (Hungarian, 1861-1928)
The new necklace
Oil on canvas
53 3/4 x 83 3/4in (136.5 x 213cm)
It is typically characteristic of Tornai to depict a crowded, richly furnished interior. The sensually stretched out woman, and several types of human characters are also typical of a Tornai composition. More on this painting
Harem a sacred inviolable place; for female members of the family. Harem properly refers to domestic spaces that are reserved for the women of the house in a Muslim family and are inaccessible to adult males except for close relations. Similar institutions have been common in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations, especially among royal and upper-class families and the term is sometimes used in non-Islamic contexts. The structure of the harem and the extent of monogamy or polygamy has varied depending on the family’s personalities, socio-economic status, and local customs. A harem may house a man’s wife—or wives and concubines, as in royal harems of the past.
In the West, Orientalist imaginary conceptions of the harem as a fantasy world of forbidden sexuality where numerous women lounged in suggestive poses have influenced many paintings, stage productions, films and literary works. Several European Renaissance paintings dating to the 16th century defy Orientalist tropes and portray the women of the Ottoman harem as individuals of status and political significance. In many periods of Islamic history women in the harem exercised various degrees of political power. More on the Harem
Gyula Tornai (1861 in Görgő – 1928 in Budapest) was a Hungarian painter, now featured in the Hungarian National Gallery.
Gyula Tornai was a great Hungarian orientalist painter. Tornai studied painting at three different academies: Vienna, Munich, and Budapest. He then traveled to India, China, and Japan before settling in Morocco. He stayed in Tangier between 1890-1891. He participated in the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, where he received a bronze medal. He died in Budapest in 1928. More on Gyula Tornai
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