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By Aescher, Hans (Romanian, 1866-1947)
This beautiful watercolour of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem sits within a magnificent giltwood frame carved with charming Orientalist motifs.
This large watercolour is by the Romanian artist Hans Aescher, who, during the late 19th and early 20th Century, travelled the Near East and produced wonderfully painted Orientalist scenes. The current picture portrays the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest sites in Islam and perhaps the earliest extant piece of Islamic architecture, was completed in 692 CE, while its current dome was finished in 1023 CE. Interestingly, the Dome in this painting is a leaden grey, while the Dome seen today is dressed in gold leaf. This painting, executed in 1929, predates the renovation of the Dome in 1961, which so dramatically changed its appearance and rendered it an icon of the contemporary Jerusalem skyline.
This painting shows the Dome behind an Islamic-style pointed-arch colonnade. The site is approached via shallow steps, flanked on one side by a large tree and on the other by a smaller domed structure. Figures traverse these steps, moving to and from the place of their worship. Aescher has utilised pale, washed shades of blues and amber hues to indicate the heat of the Jerusalem day.
The watercolour is held by a beautifully ornate carved giltwood frame. The frame is ornamented with carved engaged Solomonic columns on either side, from which spring a decorative frieze containing cruciform motifs.
The painting is signed and situated in the lower right ‘H. Aescher / Jerusalem 1929’.
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