It depicts a long caravan crossing the desert, making its way towards Mecca, Islam’s holiest city and place of pilgrimage for all Muslims. In this painting, the artist introduces a very discreet ecumenical dimension to his work. On the left, he portrays a group of three people: a man walking alongside a woman and her child on a donkey. It is a striking reference to the widely used motif in painting, of the “flight to Egypt” of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Through this association, Belly is indicating his commitment to the idea that, beyond the divisions, there exists a universal religion, one faith and one God.
Project: 10. Churches and religions in Europe., 9. Travels and travelers: economic, social and cultural connections.
Chronology: 19th century
Scope: Secondary Education, Higher Education
Resource type: Painting
Source: Musée d'Orsay
Language: English, French, Italian and Spanish
Owner: Filippo Galletti (Modernalia)
Copyright: © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Franck Raux / Stephane Marechalle
Abstract: Painting by Leon Bélly