The present painting is among the very first in which Deutsch began to experiment with a technique influenced by Post-Impressionism, and which would eventually come to characterise his late style. Although he
continued well up to 1910 to produce exceptionally detailed and
intensely observed paintings, he was also attracted to the looser and
more spontaneous feel rendered by a more painterly approach to his
subject. Thus in the present work, Deutsch combines a precise rendering of the trelliswork at the window with broadly described, and muted harmonies of grey and brown, which dominate any detail of motif in the foreground.
Together with these stylistic changes there also emerged in the later years of Deutsch's career a different emphasis in the choice of subject matter. For these pictures, the artist moved away from depictions of the ruling classes, clothed in richly coloured and textured materials, and set in intricately layered architectural surrounding. Instead, as in the present work, he represents the day-to-day activities of society, using simply clothed figures in humble, but distinctly Arab, interiors.
The present work shows a scholar and his pupil. Both figures are set in a moment of quiet concentration. Unlike in the artist's more finished works, where the emphasis is on the detail of multiple exotic motifs, Deutsch has purposefully populated his composition with only the most incidental of objects -- a simple pair of shoes, a basket, a book and a small rug -- to focus instead on the overall atmosphere.