Orientalism: A Selection of Prints and Drawings
April 21 – September 23, 2013
East Building, Study Center Library
This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
This one-room installation of nineteenth-century Orientalist works on paper includes battle scenes, wild animals, and figure studies rooted in romanticism. Features include early, first-hand sketches of the Near East, such as the colorful costume study of
Although the European fascination with North Africa and the Near East began long before, Orientalism was essentially a nineteenth-century phenomenon. Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 sparked a taste for Egyptian motifs in French art and architecture. Subsequent military campaigns, such as the Greek War of Independence (1821–1832) and the French conquest of Algeria (1830–1847), further exposed the French to Near Eastern dress and weaponry, Islamic architecture, intimate interior spaces, desolate landscapes, and fearsome animals—subjects that were popularized by artists throughout Europe and America. Coincidentally, the development of lithography at the end of the eighteenth century revolutionized printmaking. The process was quickly embraced by romantic artists, as it offered virtually unlimited graphic freedom.
Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Sponsor: The exhibition is made possible by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.