About the Artwork

A tall, bearded man stands at the top of the stairs in a doorway to a beautiful palace. Dressed in stunningly white robes, he looks down at us from his perch at the threshold to this impressive architectural space. A crimson red cap is just barely visible underneath the hooded cloak he wears. The man faces us with his left foot firmly planted on the top stair and his right on the stair below, as if stopped midstride. His left hand gathers his robes at his knee, revealing his sandaled feet and bare ankles. In his other hand he holds a sword, the long, slender blade extending down at his side toward his toes. The outer layer of his white robes is lifted over his right shoulder revealing his muscular arm and two richly decorated scabbards (sword covers) tucked into his golden belt. The golden and bejeweled handle of a blade is clearly visible in one scabbard, while the other is empty, likely belonging to the sword at his side.

Behind the man is a spectacular palace. Parts of it are bathed in a warm golden light, while others are obscured in dark shadows, adding to the dramatic feeling of the painting. Who is this man? And what is this place? People have speculated about his identity for more than a hundred years. The artist hired an unknown studio model to pose for this painting and dressed him up in a costume to create this intriguing image of a powerful man. The palace in the background is based on the Alhambra, a famous building in Granada, Spain, which was built in the 1200s and 1300s by Muslims from northwestern Africa, known as Moors, who ruled large parts of Spain. So even though this painting was inspired by real people and real places, the painting itself is an imaginative fiction created by the artist.

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This Art on Demand Store is your exclusive source for reproductions authorized and available for purchase directly from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All items that are offered are produced using gallery quality materials and the color is managed in a manner that produces a reproduction as true to the original as technology will allow.


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.


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