In the Arabah Desert

Eugen Bracht, Prince Eugen, Duke of Närke1882

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe

In 1880/81, Eugen Bracht, who had studied at the Karlsruhe academy, travelled to the Orient (Middle East) in the company of two artist friends. Their great desert tour took them from Jerusalem to the Red Sea via the Dead Sea and Petra, and then through the Sinai to Cairo. En route they crossed the Wadi Arabah, a barren expanse of sand, gravel and rock in today’s Jordan. After his return to Karlsruhe, Bracht reported to the Natural Science Society and translated his impressions of the Arabah Desert into a large painting. Since the rigours of the arduous desert crossing did not allow him to capture the landscape in sketches, he probably relied on photographs. Bracht’s painting shows a view of a desolate, heat-blasted desert landscape with a low horizon, a cloudless blue sky and the sun at the zenith. A craggy mountain range in the background is passed by a caravan slowly advancing towards the viewer. The figure of an Arab leading the camel train seems to head straight towards us. Bracht depicts a moment that leaves room to the imagination. He presents the beginnings of a story and invites the viewer to continue it as they choose.

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  • Title: In the Arabah Desert
  • Creator: Eugen Bracht
  • Date Created: 1882