The present work, based on Pasini's observations of markets around the Golden Horn in Constantinople, is a variation on a composition that the artist returned to time and again. Invariably featuring a dominating mass of buildings on one side, sloping down to a waterfront, and his signature motifs of market stallholders and brightly coloured figures in the foreground, these works reveal Pasinis's easy sense of composition and realism.
Pasini's works of this period eschewed completely the dramatic narratives of his contemporaries; instead his strain of Orientalism was based on an in-depth knowledge of his subject matter, and a search for the picturesque in the everyday. These works convey the hustle and bustle of daily Turkish life and the vibrancy of local colour, and are unified by the artist's extraordinary abilities as a colourist and his understanding of light and shade.
The present work was painted when Pasini was at the height of his powers and his dealer, Goupil, was unable to keep up with international demand for his artist's work. Pasini had recently returned from an extended trip to Constantinople, where he had received a major commission from the Sultan, and in 1870 he had exhibited to great acclaim at the Paris Salon. In the wake of these successes, he devoted himself for a while almost exclusively to paintings of Constantinople, which were executed in his studio from the countless sketches he had made on the spot.