Alexandre-Marie Colin, French, 1798-1873
Bashi-Bazouk, n.d.
Charcoal on paper, 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 in.
Gift of DeCourcy E. McIntosh
2003.24

This small drawing depicting a bashi-bazouk (irregular mercenary serving in Ottoman Turkey) may be related to a number of Orientalist subjects Colin painted in the 1830s and 1840s.  Although Colin never traveled to the Orient, he was influenced by Lord Byron’s writings — especially several poems from Turkish Tales — and by his friend Eugène Delacroix.  Colin’s talent as a draftsman is evident in his intricate rendering of the details and texture of the bashi-bazouk’s costume.

Colin was a pupil of Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson and Pierre Guérin, but despite several early successes never attained the fame of his friends Delacroix and Richard Parkes Bonington.  He specialized in small-scale historical and literary genre paintings, and also produced portraits and a few landscapes.