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The Cover
September 14, 2011

Circassian Cavalry Awaiting Their Commanding Officer at the Door of a Byzantine Monument; Memory of the Orient

JAMA. 2011;306(10):1060-1060. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1276

Alberto Pasini (1826-1899) was a traveling painter, one of many from Britain and France who accompanied diplomatic missions to the Middle East in the 19th century. He was born in Busseto, in the Italian province of Parma, where his father, an amateur painter, held office in the local government. After completing a course of study in lithography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Parma, Pasini published and illustrated an album on the architecture and history of the region. Income from the sale of the album was not sufficient for him to live on, so he set out for Paris, the mecca of the art world, in 1851. There he was influenced by Eugène Fromentin and the Barbizon landscape artists and made the acquaintance of the painter Théodore Chassériau. Chassériau introduced Pasini to Prosper Bourée, a diplomat who was about to leave on a trip to Persia (present-day Iran). Bourée invited Pasini and a writer, Comte Arthur de Gobineau, to join his delegation and document the people and places they encountered. This opportunity allowed Pasini to travel through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Yemen, and the Persian Gulf, recording details of costumes, architecture, and landscapes.

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