The Expansion

Have We not opened up your heart
and lifted from you the burden
that almost broke your back?
and We raised high your name.
For with every hardship comes ease:
truly with every hardship comes ease!
So when you are free, be steadfast,
and to your Sustainer turn with love.

-Quran, al-Sharh


Buying art

Osman Hamdi Bey Framed Print featuring the painting Young Girl Reading the Quran by Osman Hamdi Bey

I am at times debilitatingly frugal. It is an event, me treating myself to a framed print of Osman Hamdy Bey’s Young Girl Reading the Quran.

I was going to be cheap and get a smallish canvas print, and spouse said, no, get it bigger, get a framed print.

I keep doing that, getting small, cheaply framed/ mounted /canvas prints. And they look all wrong, and it’s a waste of money. Spending money is an art of privilege.

I spend a lot of time on art seller websites, picking out vintage, Orientalist, animal, and landscape art, — and then, after several hours, deciding I can’t justify the purchase. That was me, wandering for hours in Liberty Market, and bringing home nothing!

I do still enjoy the visual experience.

Despite the framing of Orientalist paintings, I have a love for many like this one:

Martinus Rørbye: A Turkish Notary drawing up a marriage Contract in front of the Kiliç Ali Pasha Mosque, Tophane, Constantinople.

Unfortunately, most Orientalist paintings are entirely depictions of men (or naked women.) Unfortunately, too, there is the horrifying depiction of slavery.

The cobbler, Tangiers; by Jean Discart (1884-1920)

I enjoy the “lazy Arab” genre, and the level of detail here is gorgeous (not to mention CATS). But we had a family discussion over whether our teen would be subliminally induced to think positively of smoking.

Ludwig Deutsch, Le fumeur de Goza signée et datée "L. Deutsch 1884' (en haut à droite) huile sur panneau. 41 x 29,8 cm (16 1/8 x 11 3/4in). £ 120,000 - 180,000, € 130,000 - 200,000 Bonhams Vente d'Art impressionniste européen, victorien et britannique du XIXe siècle, 26 sept. 2019, 14:00 BST Londres, New Bond Street

All in all, a purchase of Osman Hamdy Bey’s painting was less ethically troubling.