Skip to content




Western art

View More:


The snake charmer



Nasreddine Dinet


28 Mar 1861 - 24 Dec 1929


Another of the prolofic technicians of late nineteenth-century art, Dinet was a French-born painter-illustrator, with a penchant for attention-seeking titles and striking technical effects are exploited in 'The snake charmer', an orientalist painting that doubles as a touristic postcard. Exotic in its geo-graphical setting and sensational in its subject matter, it further trades on scale as a strategy to arrest the viewer. The figures are large and brilliantly coloured, seeming to spill into the gallery space. The charmer himself is consciously that, with a toothy smile and 'authentic' costume. Also noteworthy is the treatment of bright sunlight which Dinet translates into broad applications of impasto paint with practised, not to say formulaic, ease. No real attempt is made to create a composition. Rather, the cropped casualness of a photograph is suggested.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.


Alternative title

Le charmeur de viperes



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


176.5 x 180.4 cm

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l., yellow oil "E. DINET / ...1889".


Purchased 1890

Accession number


Artist information

Nasreddine Dinet

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Paris Salon, Paris/France, Purchased by the AGNSW from the Paris Salon 1890

Referenced in 29 publications


Roger Benjamin, Orientalism – Delacroix to Klee, 'The Oriental Mirage', pg. 7-31, Sydney, 1997-1998, 20, 41-43, 44 (colour illus.), 45, 129 (colour illus.), 129-30.

Roger Benjamin, Look, 'The Romance of Arabia - Orientalism - Delacroix to Klee', pg. 14-17, Heidelberg, Dec 1997, 15 (colour illus.), 16.

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 48.

Janet Hawley, Good Weekend, 'Scenes from the Kaskah', pg. 24-30, Sydney, 1997, 27, 28 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 50 (colour illus.).

Salon and Académie: the charm of tradition: a catalogue of nineteenth-century European salon works, Sydney, 1984, (illus.). no catalogue numbers

Catalogue del l'oeuvre de Dinet, 1984, 194. 144

The Orientalists: painter travellers, 1983.

An exhibition of French art at the National Art Gallery of N.S.W, Sydney, 1944. 101

National Art Gallery of New South Wales: exhibition of continental art, Sydney, 1940. 1

La vie de E. Dinet, 1938, 62.

Art and Australia, 'The Art of Arthur Streeton', pg. 12, Sydney, 1919, 12.

L'Art et les artistes, 1909-1910, 163-172.

National Art Gallery of NSW: illustrated catalogue, Sydney, 1906, (illus.). 77

Le Salon de 1890, 1890, 84 (illus.).

Le Temps, 02 Jul 1890.

Le monde illustre, 17 May 1890, 322.

Brelaus de salons, 1890, 225.

Revue francaise et samedi réunis, 1890, 97.

L'artiste, 1890, 85.

Paris Salon, Paris, 1890, 95 (illus.).

Figaro, 1890, (illus.).

Le Salon de 1890, 1890, 86 (illus.).

Revue des deux mondes, vil 3, 1890, 925.

L'art francais, 28 Jun 1890. 166 (repr. en glyptographie)

Art and Australia, 'Victorian favourites: a conversation - Elwyn Lynn and Lloyd Rees', pg. 49-56, Sydney, Spring 1984, 49, 52, 55.

Images in opposition: Australian landscape painting 1801–1890, 'Contrasting lights', pg.135-154, Melbourne, 1985, 149.

La vie et l'oeuvre de Etienne Dinet, Paris, 1991. 144

(and so forth), Sydney, 1998, (colour illus.). The image appears between pages 232 and 233.