- Orientalism as an artform was mainly developed during the XIXe in Western Europe. It sets the sight of European painters on the islamic civilisation, which is quite a subjective look. European society at that time restricted nude paintings for moral & religious reasons, so fantasizing about harems gave the artists freedom to act. Anecdoting scenes show European artists while on trip to Orient, that could only "let their imagination go on while waiting at the entrance of a Harem gate", literally meaning : strictly restricted zone for people from abroad.
- Scientific orientalism was previous and mainly developed after the Age of Discovery as a way to enhance the colonization process of the World. Naturalists came back with awesome news. Describing old civilizations with new scientific ways and compiling knowledge about conquered remote lands gave the Europeans a strong feeling of superiority. Hence the basis of colonialism as an ideology. Egyptology can be traced back to orientalism: French and later English said they knew more about Egypt and Ancient Egypt than the dwelling populations there at that time.
"both consider the Orient as an object of studies". So that Occidental thinkers defined Occident itself, displaying what it was not while considering the rest of the world complied to their views.
Source: see Edward Said works on the subject.
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Media in category "Orientalism"
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