29 November 2009

The Lure of the Exotic: Orientalism in Europe

The Occidental world's fascination with Orientalism began in the 16th century with Turquerie, the imitation of Turkish art and culture. Europe's Age of Discovery had provided access to the commodities and products from the Ottoman Empire and their art, textiles, costumes, interiors and architecture all became popular in the West. In the 18th and 19th centuries the European tastes expanded to the Arabian Peninsula, Northern Africa and Western Asia. French artists such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Jean-Léon Gérôme depicted sensual visions of fantasy odalisques in seraglios and European women in "oriental" costume. Moorish style continued into the 20th century with the design and decorative arts of Italian Carlo Bugatti. Using geometric and organic shapes executed in vellum, white and yellow metals, light and ebony woods, he created unique furniture fit for any harem.


  1. I like to invite you to visit my Orientalist Gallery blog in which I have a wonderful collection of Orientalist paintings from the 19th century.

    I am an artist myself with lots of hobbies, which you might be interested to discover on my other blogs.

  2. Those who love Orientalism paintings may check that new site 4 more orientalist art works: http://www.orientalisma.com

  3. All these choice bits are so much fun to receive. Ingres has always set me off...what with my total fascination with Istanbul. Once while walking around in Rome alone I came upon the house he lived in and nearly fell to the ground in reverence. His sort of mail order bride popped a paper bag over his head as they walked..... to protect the fine artistic vision when they chanced upon something really hideous.


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