Jeune Tunisienne means Young Tunisian. The artist who painted many nude and erotic depictions of woman hasn’t lost his erotic touch in current painting even though the woman is wearing full tradition clothes. Her stance and the firm face with clear eyes are similarly attractive. The display of the traditional dress with a posture which acts in graceful manner yet allures a young mind with an attempt to hide the beauty with the traditional women’s attire called Sefseri.
Sefseri is the traditional clothing for women in Tunisia. It resembles to an Indian Sari but has a different take on wearing it. Sefseri are worn by woman to hide their whole body as well as to hide themselves from the man gaze. The full body covering sefseri successfully fulfills the purpose.
Though there are varieties in sefseri itself. Nowadays, it is worn by elderly woman mostly with white or gray color to deem down the attractiveness. But, in the northern parts, sefseri could be found more colorful and attractive and instead of being just a traditional dress they are worn on festivals for the special touch of beauty of the old tradition.
Well, nowadays, after the Ennahda movements and women’s major part in the act, women have brought more freedom for themselves, as more and more women are getting attracted towards the western clothing, which they find more comfortable against those traditional wears.
Still, the represented oil-on-canvas painting completed in 1902, remarks that why even today some women prefers to the traditional clothing, as it covers the purpose of being tradition and attractive all the same. Moreover, Tunisian culture allows women to wear as much gold as they could afford. Here, the woman is wearing minimal ornament against those traditional women who wears dozens and sometimes hundreds of pieces of gold at a time.
Though, the real beauty of the painting is not in the clothes or ornament. In my view, it blazes on the face of the young woman. The bright, lighten face with fearless still bashful expression. She looks confident in herself and it is a great as the painting is from the beginning of the 20th century when women were far more oppressed and ill-educated than today’s. The firm look in her eyes in a way is representing the whole young brigade of Tunisian, the young face of Tunisia in contemporary times, when it could be mildly oppressed by the society but has not lost confidence and vigor at the same time.