The siren song of the Near East lured Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903) to travel as far as India, a land replete with exotic temptations and unusual vistas. To the Boston-born painter, deserts, riverbanks, mosques, temples, camels, tent hangings, narrow archways of the souk, and local inhabitants all represented snapshots of his experiences: he transported his contemporary audience to the fragrant mélange that was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Temples and Bathing Ghat at Benares (cover) exemplifies Weeks' works of the era, a visual travelogue for those anchored to the shores of North America or the crowded cities and ghettoes of western Europe. Executed after Weeks' first trip to India in the early 1880s, Temples and Bathing Ghat at Benares depicts a scene far removed from anything the artist experienced in New England or even in Paris, where he received his art education in the studio of Léon Bonnat.
Torpy JM. Temples and Bathing Ghat at Benares. JAMA. 2010;304(19):2100. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1435