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Other titles in the Art of Century series:
Orientalism (Art of Century)by Victor Hugo
Synopses & Reviews
Initiated in France in the 17th century and quickly spread through Europe, interest in Orientalism in the West intensified in the late 18th century. The interest of writers and artists for the East increased in the West as a result of political events which liberated the relations between the two. The most important event being Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, along with the Greek. These events mark a break for artists, in which they begin to travel and discover the charms of the East. Lively and colourful street scenes, the languid lives of women in harems, and even the colours of desert landscapes and oases have allowed artists such as Horace Vernet, Theodore Chassériau, and Eugène Delacroix to diversify their subjects and the tone of their palette. The light is warm, the contrast’s highlighted, and the colours are shimmering and vivid. We chose Victor Hugo’s Les Orientales collection, published in 1829, to accompany these images, as they were a symbol of the sensibilities of the time.
About the Author
Victor Hugo (1802-1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist, and exponent of the Romantic Movement in France. His poem collection Les Orientales, inspired by the Greek War of Independence, offers a series of highly coloured tableaux depicting scenes from the eastern Mediterranean and linking the Ancient Greeks with the modern world: freedom in politics with freedom in art. It is often cited as being representative of the “Orientalist” attitudes commonly found in French literature.
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