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  1. Introduction.
  2. When and why this Orientalist movement emerge?
  3. What are the specificities of Orientalist painting?
    1. Orientalist painting is not a genre.
    2. The travel.
    3. Improvements in the technique of painting.
    4. Recurrent themes.
  4. Late Orientalism and its decline.
  5. Conclusion.

Today, we are going to talk about Orientalist painting. In this way, I'm going to present you the general aspects of that kind of painting: its historical context, its specificities, its recurrent themes, its criticisms and finally its decline. Throughout this presentation, I will try to show you several Orientalist paintings, so that you can have a more precise idea of what this artistic movement is. Until the middle of the 17th century, the main link between the East and the West was trade. It is only at the end of the 17th century and in the whole 18th century that the European interest for the East really aroused. At that time, Europeans had a huge fancy for what is called in French ?les turqueries'_ that is to say works of Oriental inspiration, at that time it mainly imitates the Oriental designs. It could be found for instance in domains like painting, literature, theatre, clothing or ornament. We can see it for instance in Boucher's L'odalisque brune (1) which represents a naked woman in a setting that wants to look Oriental. We can see that with the blue cloth, the low table at the left, the jewels, and the feathers on her head Boucher tried to make of an ordinary Western woman (his wife) an odalisque.

[...] We can say that Orientalist painters often chose to show symbolic moments or objects in their paintings. Indeed, the European audience at that time was mainly in search of exoticism. Recurrent themes. In this way, there were some recurrent themes. Historical paintings. Painters, when they went in the East, often took advantage of colonial missions. In this way, some of them became real reporters, showing to Europe the important steps of colonization in the East. Thus, at the beginning of the 19th century (when trip conditions had not developed yet), there were lots of historical paintings_One of them being Gros's Bataille des Pyramides(12). [...]


[...] Nevertheless, the great blossoming of Orientalist painting is positively the 19th century, and more precisely the universal exhibitions of 1855 and 1867_the English Orientalism developed more in the middle of the 19th century. The 19th century Orientalism was considered by some as the true orientalism since it was based on a more accurate vision of the East and on a new ethnological approach. We can find an explanation to that blossoming in several historical events that enabled and even launched this interest for the East and, consequently, this movement throughout the 19th century: - The Napoleonian march on Egypt, in 1798_that is represented in Gros's Bonaparte visitant les pestiferes de Jaffa. [...]


[...] In this way, they did researches, met Orientalist people coming to Europe, and used genuine costumes and objects to represent details in their paintings. The fact that painters had to travel has several effects on the way they used to paint. Improvements in the technique of painting. Indeed, there had been two great improvements in painting at that time, thanks to Orientalism : - The growing importance of watercolour. For instance, we can see the English trend of using it in The Favourite Odalisque(8) by Thomas Allom. [...]

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