wall label: Gérôme was schooled in the rigorous exactitude of the French academic tradition as well as Romanticism's taste for the exotic. He is renowned for his scenes of the Middle East, which he first visited in 1856. Most are idealized images heightening the sensuous qualities that made the Orient so appealing to the Romantic imagination.
The Guard is an imagined view of everyday life in a Middle Eastern town. The dozing animals and inviting, shady street contrast with the stern guard. This tension between the familiar and the menacing unknown gives Gérôme's art much of its seductive appeal.