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Author Topic: ORIENTALISM  (Read 11135 times)
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« on: May 30, 2009, 09:06:22 am »


“A Visit:
Harem Interior,

by “Henriette Browne”
—a pseudonym of Parisian artist

Sophie Boutellier.

But men were not the only ones to paint “harem scenes.” Amid the most revealing and riveting of the paintings in the “Lure of the East” exhibition is “A Visit: Harem Interior, Constantinople,” 1860, by Henriette Browne, who was able to come and go in the women’s quarters. It depicts an austere, almost empty hall to which the visitors have even brought their own cushions, where a child clings uneasily to its mother. It is an ordinary moment amid polite but obviously tedious rituals and family matters.

Other Orientalist renderings of daily life in Arab lands tend to show two main settings: cities and deserts. The cities, however, are seemingly “medieval” or “timeless” vernacular scenes that exclude evidence of modernity. These include at times carefully observed traders and craftspeople (of pre-industrial pursuits), as well as the interiors and courtyards of homes, whose overwhelming detail and ornamental excess is rendered with meticulous draftsmanship. In these paintings, the brush lingered on tiles and textiles, carpets and architecture as the artist distilled a stereotypical, often languid atmosphere. But did those painters really paint—or even sketch—en plein air, right in the bazaars, with the flies and dust and hubbub? Some did, but others worked from photographs. Similarly, the interiors of most mosques—Orientalism’s second most popular motif—were off-limits at that time to non-Muslims, which raises more questions of accuracy in the minds of modern viewers and buyers.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2009, 09:11:01 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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