This painting shows the excavated sphinx with the pyramids behind, in Giza. The canvas is dominated by the Sphinx, with a group of small figures at its base. Only upon viewing can the vibrancy of the colours used by the artist really be appreciated, with deep cold blues used to depict the long shadows cast from the great statue and deliberate flecks of crimson used by the artist to depict the traveller’s clothes.
The work will have been created before 1887 as in this year a further dig was led by Eugene Grebaut that uncovered the paws of the great Sphinx.
Western artists in the nineteenth century were enthralled with the land and the artefacts of Ancient Egypt. Egypt was an exotic land completely different from Europe. The colours, the heat and the people all exerted a strange fascination.