|Painting Name||The Favorite|
|Painter Name||Otto Pilny|
|Size||80 x 120 cm (31½" x 3' 11.24")|
|Current Location||Private collection|
Otto Pilny, a swiss artist has depicted this genre painting of middle eastern culture of old times. It depicts a moment of a young arab man picking out his favorite girl from the lot provided by the old man.
The scene is taking place in the middle of the arab desert where, after the whole day’s scathing heat, the temperature is soothing to a bearable level and which will soon come down the point of shivering cold when it is the middle of the night. The surrounding objects and people are saying about where this event is taking place. The camels and tents in the middle of the desert indicates them to be vagabonds of the deserts, wandering from one place to another to make their living. We can imagine them relying solely on the trade shown in the painting as there are already five women present in the picture as the offerings for the probable customers. The old people in the background could be the partners of the business.
The composition, setting, environment and characters in the painting are very similar to The Slave Market made by the same artist. So we can assume more reliably that the current depiction is more about a man buying a slave for himself than the business being of a prostitution for shorter period.
The postures of the characters are indicative. The customer is looking lustily right at his favorite girl and isn’t even glancing at the bowing welcome of the old owner of the girls. The old man, understanding the situations, is just being formal to his customer and already knows that he had him and the money. The girl is also wooing with an alluring feminine pose and a direct gaze.
Such trade in old middle east seems to be of a common place and very accepted custom in the society by this depiction. From there we can imagine what type of monotonous mindset people had for women. They were seen as the object of the sensual pleasure and nothing more. Such mentality prevailed in many parts of the world in hundred or two hundred years ago. And to tell the truth, still prevails in some rustic and undeveloped parts where the modern definitions of independant women are a taboo.
This little scene by Otto Pilny indicates many things about the old culture of the arab lands, where social behaviors differs very much than of today’s. There hasn’t come radical changes societies of the world against prostitution but about the inhuman custom of keeping slaves has apparently long gone from the world.
You can see similar painting by Otto Pilny down below.