Orientalism Essay

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Orientalism in European Art focuses on Middle Eastern imagery through the eyes of Western artists. However, such artwork is based on the stereotype of the Middle East. Orientalism is split into three categories: Rapportage, Political, and Exoticism. In this particular article, Walter B. Denny focuses on the three groups and the problem of orientalism. On the other hand, I will be focusing my attention on Exoticism Orientalism, the different views on it, and on a particular painting along with the reaction from some of the audience. I enjoyed reading these particular sections in the article because this article evidently justifies that this art is purely based on how the Westerners regarded the Middle Easterners. It also describes the tension…show more content…
Regardless of the mass amount of time and effort, the end result of the painting usually receives a lot of criticism. Denny points out that there are simply two distinct outlooks on Exoticism Orientalism, “the greatest fascination and the deepest repulsion” (Denny 270). Moreover, Denny also mentions, “exoticism represents the paradox of what the viewing public in Europe wanted-they wanted images of great sexuality and eroticism” (272). It is clear that “the greatest fascination” refers to the Westerners whereas “the deepest repulsion” is the people of the East. Europeans found interest in the Middle East and depicted what they thought on it through their paintings. On the other hand, the Islamic world opposed their work. On page 273, Denny points out the removal of these sexual fantasies in the Islamic World indicating the European’s troubled state of mind. In the last section of this article, Denny repeatedly strives to inform the ignorance of the Europeans, “in European art is that it proceeds from a base of relative ignorance about the Islamic cultivation whose imagery is being used…”…show more content…
It is evident this woman is part of the higher social class for many reasons. In the background there appears to be a guy who is simply standing there and looks like a servant. There is also someone playing an instrument for her. Luxurious items such as a hookah, a bed, and a garden in the back surround this woman indicating the lush life she is living in the East. With all these luxurious aspects of the painting, the painting itself seems rather lavish too. However, Denny describes a situation where a professor from an American university was delivering a lecture on this particular subject including this painting as an example and that this painting “was projected on the screen, a number of Middle Easterners in the audience made a very abrupt departure from the hall” (270). When I read this I was quite surprised because I did not think a group of people would actually exit the room. Although, the action of departing plainly displays what sort of audience these paintings were made for. These were not for the Islamic World, but were rather fantasies of such a foreign place. This case is a great example of Exoticism Orientalism because it backs up Denny’s statements on how it is what a Westerner saw when they thought of the East. It also proves that Easterners disagree because that is not what their world was
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