Of the many fine oil paintings and works of art it has been both my privilege and pleasure in real life
to see, this one, by French Orientalist Léon Belly (1827-1877), stays -in memory- with me still.
Pèlerins allant à la Mecque [Pilgrims going to Mecca]
"For this work, regarded, from the moment it was presented, to be a masterpiece of Orientalist painting, Belly chose to present an ambitious subject on a canvas of unusually large size. It depicts a long caravan crossing the desert, making its way towards Mecca, Islam's holiest city and place of pilgrimage for all Muslims.
At the 1861 Salon, Belly received a first class medal for his Pilgrims, the highest award. The public particularly liked the bold effect produced by the long procession as it advances towards the spectator. In fact, one critic declared that as he "came back into the Salon, it seemed as if every visitor had become part of the caravan" ..."