'Danseuses dans le souk', Orientalist painting by Fabio Fabbi

By Fabbi, Fabio (Italian, 1861-1946)


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This superb oil painting is by the Italian artist Fabio Fabbi. Fabbi was born in Bologna in 1861. He met success early in his career, moving to Florence to study in the Academia in the 1870s, where he became a professor in 1883 at the age of 22. The following year, 1884, saw him admitted to the Academia in his native Bologna. Throughout his career, Fabbi was renowned for his Orientalist paintings, particularly his depictions of North African and Middle Eastern scenes of bustling streets. He enjoyed the patronage of important contemporaries, such as King Umberto I, the second king of the recently unified Italy, which indicates the degree of success he achieved during his lifetime. Fabbi lived a long life, dying in 1946.

The present painting depicts a souk, or a bazaar—souk being the term typically used for a traditional marketplace in a North African context. Fabbi depicts five women and four men: the four men sit on the ground playing traditional instruments, while two women dance to the music—the danseuses in the title. Three other women wait their turn, their heads bowed pensively. The background of the painting is populated with domes and minarets, their forms diffuse in the hazy midday heat. The painterly manner is superb: fluid, accomplished brushstrokes serve to enhance the sense of movement, while the vibrant colour palette grants the composition an exotic character.

The painting is contained within an ornate giltwood frame and is signed lower left ‘F. Fabbi’.

Frame: Height 112cm, width 150cm, depth 7cm
Canavs: Height 82cm, wdith 120cm


Artist / Maker
By Fabbi, Fabio (Italian, 1861-1946)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Figurative Art, Orientalist
Giltwood, Oil on Canvas
Gold, Multi-coloured


112 cm / 44.1 inches
150 cm / 59.1 inches
7 cm / 2.8 inches


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