Egyptian Chess Players indulges the European taste for the exotic during the nineteenth century, Lawrence Alma-Tadema specialized in painting scenes rich with the colors of the East. This 1879 Orientalist picture is no different: we see two men playing and a woman watching the ancient game of strategy clad in rich clothing.
Both the clothing and the room are finely ornamented, and the sky in the background is a stunning azure. These details leave us in no doubt that we as western viewers are far away in a land of impossible extravagance.
Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s Egyptian Chess Players is in a private collection.