Title: Orientalists: Western Artists in Arabia, the...
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine
0975978306 New York, 2005. Folio, cloth with jacket, 301 pp. A fine copy, unrad. Jacket is very near fine with slight edgewear. Bookseller Inventory # OS2094
Synopsis: From the Great Pyramids to the Taj Mahal, the Middle East and India have for centuries lured Westerners to travel and have inspired their architecture, literature, music and fashion. The Orientalists pursues the richest era of this fascination, the mid to late 19th century, when American and European artists traveled and painted throughout the Holy Land and India. The highly cinematic images they created suggest a great influence on modern visual culture. Travel, art, geography, cultural perception, and social and military history are all woven through the text. An extensive introduction provides a thought-provoking perspective on the evolution of Orientalism and the rise of Islam and its ever-changing relationship to the West. It is within this context that the author introduces us to Orientalist paintings. The author is well aware of September 11, 2001 and its implications on the book which was being researched and formulated in his mind before the horrific events unfolded. He does not pretend
From the Publisher: Americans and Europeans have a dual perception of the land that stretches from Morocco to India. Much of it Muslim, for the past 1,000 years no region has inspired more fear for the West, yet none has been a greater source of wonder and a stronger influence on Western art and artists. Contemporary events have darkened that perception, yet from the Great Pyramids to the Taj Mahal, the Middle East and India have for centuries lured Westerners to travel and have inspired their architecture, literature, music and fashion.
The Orientalists pursues perhaps the richest era of this long tradition of fascination for the Near and Middle East—the mid to late 19th century, when painters from America and from every country in Europe traveled in and painted the vast cities and peoples of North Africa, the Holy Land, Persia and India. Many of these regions had only recently become accessible to the West. The first in, the first to see – the painters, known as "Orientalists" created a rich body of work of a world that was rapidly changing, during the last precious years before modernization.
The Holy Land, North Africa, Persia, India - these are places whose history is filled with both beauty and pain. The artists painted many sides that captured this duality—the dignity of faces, and the powerful color and beauty of architecture, calligraphy and clothing, but also the brutality of poverty and the tragic outcomes of violence.
The cinematic appeal of the images is undeniable. Hugely popular in their time, the Orientalists had an enormous influence on early film makers like D.W. Griffith and their recreations of Babylon and Biblical times. A perusal of the images in this book shows their deep influence on many aspects of contemporary visual arts, a kind of prototype of many 20th-century favorites, from the "Star Wars" films, "Lawrence of Arabia", "Gladiator" and the many films set in the desert milieu, to the "Dune Chronicles," Frank Frazetta and "The Lord of the Rings" illustration tradition.
Featuring over 300 images, culled from 45 different institutions in seven different countries, many of these pictures have rarely been seen publicly since their creation a century and more ago. Having both traveled and lived in the region, author Kristian Davies approaches this often misunderstood genre of art from a fresh perspective. The book is designed to be a primer, a fresh new approach and redefinition of the genre. Richly illustrated with full color pictures, many with second details, it is an art history book that puts the artwork first. Davies uses a selection of the finest pictures in the genre to illuminate the life and customs of this extraordinary part of our world. The text is intended for the general reader, exploring diverse subjects like deserts and pilgrimages, villages and bazaars, faith and spirituality, and the West’s enduring fascination with the harem and hookah.
Written in a personal, engaging tone, The Orientalists emphasizes both the extraordinary talent of these artists and the beauty and nobility of the worlds they traveled in. It will show a reader that perceptions have not always been as uniform or simple as "us" and "them."
A unique, indispensable book, the ultimate work on the subject, The Orientalists: Western Artists in Arabia, the Sahara, Persia & India will be of interest to lovers of both fine arts and illustration, readers of history, movie fans and travelers alike.
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