The mosque, Tunis by Elizabeth Nourse

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The mosque, Tunis by Elizabeth Nourse

Painting NameThe mosque Tunis
Painter NameElizabeth Nourse
Completion Date1897
Size66.5 x 86.4 cm (26.18" x 34.02")
Current LocationPublic collection

Tunisia, the South African country is heavily influenced by Muslim religion from the beginning. Even after the majority figures following one religion, people have a broad view for other cultures as well. The reason is rooted in its history, as it is claimed by the historian that the Tunisian culture, basically, doesn’t consist any original characteristics of its own, instead it’s the cumulative influence of different cultures and civilization. Thus, the culture is said to be broader in its mentality in accepting other religions as well.

Though, the statistics are contrasting from the historians’ statements, being 99 % of the population being Sunni Muslims. The represented picture reflects its majority with a great view about reflecting the cultural aspects and impacts very well in the city of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.

The high building in background with multiple domes is one of the main Mosques the city. It is called “Sidi Mahrez Mosque” built by Mohamed Bey El Mouradi. The mosque is said to be heavily influenced by the Ottoman architecture style for having the similar multiple domes (or Cupolas as they are called in local) found in Ottoman architectures instead of a single dome or a flat terrace.

Artist Elizabeth Nourse has tried to glorify the very culture of Tunisia with the view which captures the mosque as well as the local folks in the traditional attires. It seems to be totally untouched by the outer “modern” world filled with gadgets and suits. We can sense more of the old timey, cultural and traditional air among the people and their mentality as if they have been inhibiting in the area alike how their ancestors were living hundreds of years ago, with some of very occasional changes in traditional lifestyle.

But, we can’t expect modernism in the scene as the painting itself is more than 100 years old when the outer world was not as much modern enough. Though, it was not living in the past either.

Moreover, the square in which people are roaming is called Bab Suika-Suker Square and is a real place near the mosque.

Requiring some attention, artist Elizabeth Nourse was a well-known artist of her time and was called “the first woman painter of America” by her contemporaries. So, we can’t doubt about her research and précised depiction of the view as she was apparently devoted towards the art.

Around 3 by 2 feet, oil on canvas painting, becomes a fine depiction of the religious influence in Tunisia becoming a perfect wall-piece for any building respecting the very culture of Tunisia.


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