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  1. Introduction.
  2. History of Orientalism.
    1. Definition of the term 'Orientalism'.
    2. Who were the first 'Orientalists'?
    3. Negative image of the oriental people.
  3. Orientalism in art.
    1. Imitations of oriental styles.
    2. Depictions of the Orient in art.
    3. Examples of Orientalism in the arts.
  4. Edward Said and Orientalism.
    1. Said's ideas.
    2. Criticisms of Said.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Works cited.

In the 19th century, a fad for the Orient appeared. The artists were inspired by its luxury, its mystery and of course, the supernatural that surrounded this part of the world. Orientalism is the study of near and Far-Eastern societies and cultures by westerners (first meaning). But it can also refer to the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists (second meaning). The first meaning of the term is mainly used to refer to the study of the East during the period of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Nowadays, when we talk about "Orientalism", it is mainly with regard to its second meaning, that is to say "Orientalism" as a pictorial genre. The first "Orientalists" were 19th century scholars who translated the writings of the Orient into English, based on the supposition that an effective colonial conquest required knowledge of the conquered peoples. This is the idea of knowledge as a power exposed by Said (a Palestinian scholar). Said thinks that by knowing the Orient, the West came to own it.

[...] We find also elements of religion, sacredness: the sacred river?, ?incense?. We have the impression to be in an imaginative country. So the vocabulary used throughout this stanza and throughout the poem by Coleridge helps to convey an atmosphere of mystery and supernatural. It also helps to convey an image of the East as fascinating, luxurious and frightful. Painting In painting too, the Orient is often represented with many distortions. The oriental men are often depicted as feminine and weak, yet strangely dangerous. [...]


[...] Many critical theorists regard this form of Orientalism as being representative of the Westerners' colonial mind, justified by the concept of the "white man's burden". The "white man's burden" was the idea that the white men had to civilize, to educate and to baptize people of other religions as Christians. Orientalism in Art: Imitations of oriental styles Imitations of oriental styles began in the 18th century with the Turqueries that could be found in clothing, literature, music and furniture. Then, from the Renaissance to the 18th century, Western designers attempted to imitate the technical sophistication of Chinese ceramics, this was called Chinoiserie. [...]

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