Myths of the Orient: Deconstructing the European Vision of the Middle East

December 5, 2020
11 am (CST)
New Perspectives talk, online

Join Eve Rosekind, PhD student in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, for a talk about Orientalism, the artistic representation of the Middle East by European artists. The most common subjects of orientalist artwork that emerged in the nineteenth century were the desert landscape, hunters and warriors, market scenes, and odalisques in harems. These orientalist themes continued throughout the twentieth century, demonstrating the longevity of Orientalism within the history of art.

Initially these orientalist artworks appear as beautiful and straightforward representations of their subject matter, but the ideas that underlie these artistic depictions stem from European histories of colonialism and empire. This talk will scrutinize the common artistic themes of Orientalism and how they constructed a specific European vision and fantasy of the Orient. The Museum’s collection of paintings, photographs, and works on paper will take participants on a journey through the complex themes of European Orientalism.

New Perspectives

New Perspectives talks are opportunities to learn more about the Museum’s collection from emerging scholars. The talks are given by graduate students in the Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences and focus on one or more works from the collection, often aligning with the students’ own expertise and scholarly interests.

About the speaker

Eve Rosekind is a PhD student in the Department of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences. She studies late nineteenth-century French art with an interest in Orientalism and Second Empire Paris. She holds a BA in art history from Johns Hopkins University with minors in French culture and Museums & Society, and an MA in art history from Williams College. She has completed internships at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art and the National Portrait Gallery. Eve was previously the curatorial assistant for European decorative arts and sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Image credit

Félix Bonfils (French, 1831–1885), detail of Caire—Vue générale des Pyramides (The Pyramids of Giza), plate 104, 1860s.