Mar 28, 2013
Mar 28, 2013
Mar 28, 2013

A Woman from the Land of Eskimos

A Woman from the Land of Eskimos


Léon Cogniet

(French, 1794–1880)

Oil on fabric

Framed: 62.9 x 57.2 x 8.9 cm (24 3/4 x 22 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.); Unframed: 42.5 x 36.5 cm (16 3/4 x 14 3/8 in.)

Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.249



Although many artists of the Romantic movement sought evidence of ideal existence in the Orient and the Near East, Cogniet instead chose to depict an Eskimo with her distinctive tattoos. Indeed, this painting is among the first to use images of an unspoiled, "primitive" culture as an embodiment of truth and beauty. When this painting was shown in an 1826 exhibition, the accompanying catalogue stated that it was "painted after nature." However, the artist never traveled to the Arctic. Still, he may have actually seen an Eskimo. In 1825 a Paris newspaper reported that an Eskimo woman and her dog were performing in the city as part of a curiosity show. The show also included a massive panoramic view of Baffin Bay (located between northeast Canada and Greenland). That painting may have inspired the dark sky and icy landscape in Cogniet's picture.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.