The Dead Sea, from MasadaArtist(s)Edward LearObject Creation Date1879Medium & Supportoil on canvasDimensions
13 9/16 in. x 21 7/16 in. ( 34.4 cm x 54.5 cm )Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
Perhaps best known for his limericks and nonsense poems, Edward Lear was also a popular travel writer, prominent scientific illustrator, and an accomplished landscape painter. He traveled extensively in Greece and the Near East, and in 1858 he visited and first painted the mount of Masada in Israel, located at the edge of the Judean Desert on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The Museum’s painting is a second version executed in 1879 for the eighteenth Earl of Derby, for whom Lear made many paintings and illustrations throughout the artist’s lifetime. The high vantage point and the use of aerial or atmospheric perspective, most noticeable in the tonal changes between the cliffs in the foreground and the mountains in the background, suggest a sweeping panoramic view in spite of the small size of the canvas. Such topographical views of North Africa and the Middle East, parallel to views popularized by the newly emerging medium of photography, became the fashion as more and more Europeans traveled further afield, armed with popular travel guides such as Cook’s "Handbook for Egypt and and the Egyptian Sudan."
(Yao-fen You, 18th-19th Century Gallery installation, early 1999)Primary Object ClassificationPaintingCollection AreaWesternRights
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