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Decoding Images: Orientalism

Intermediate EFL Students


www.dictionary.com


What is the study of Orientalism? Orientalism is the study of how the West sees the East as an exotic Other, who is inferior, barbaric, and untamed. Westerners construct, and mispresent, the ‘Orient’ for political and romantic reasons. The ‘Orient’ and ‘Orientals’ don’t exist, except in the imagination of the West. The ‘Orient’ is constructed with images, text and other symbols that embedded with ideological biases. Source  of  image:   http://postcolonialst udies.emory.edu/ori entalism/    


Here is an image of Orientalism. Let’s break it down.

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


Step 1: What are the formal elements of the image?

• • • • • • •

Line Color Shape Texture Mass Volume Composition


Texture & Color: The colors are deep hues of orange, yellow, and reds. The colors are exotic. The color contrasts with the dark shadows. The texture is rich, smooth, and flowing like the fabric of the dresses.

Line & Shapes: The lines of the painting are made with shadows. The lines are soft and round. The lines are feminine and beautiful. The shapes are like the lines: flowing, soft, and round. CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  

There are very few sharp angles.


Composition: The woman’s white body is the center of the composition. The yellow dress, and the dark skin of the servant, makes the white woman’s skin more bright and clear. She looks like a Greek statue of a Goddess. All shapes in the painting draw attention to her statue-like pose.

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


Formal Analysis Summary: Her white body looks like an innocent white goddess contrasting with the dark shadows. In the dark shadows, a man lurks in the corner. He is curled up and jagged compared to the soft, flowing lines of the women in their dresses. The color is rich, dark and exotic giving a sense of mystery. It looks like a fantasy. Her beauty is bathed in light while the darkness obscures all the other faces. Her soft femininity looks too pure to be among the dark shadows, rich textures, and exotic colors.

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


Step two

Critical thinking: • • • •

What is the story? Why do you think the author created the image? Who is profiting? Where are you located in the story?


• What is the story? Who are the people in the idea? What are they doing?

Where are they? How do you think that they got there? Who is the center of the image? Who is the story about?

Does the story reflect real life? Why or why not? What is the title of the painting?

When is the story taking place? What year? What country?

What does the title tell us about the story?

Internet search: • The painting • The painter • History of the location.

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


• Why do you think the author creating the image?

Who is the painter? Where is he from? Was he from the Orient? Are there other paintings like this one? Is the painting realism?

Why did those painters author those paintings?

What is the title of the painting? What does the title tell us about the painter?

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


• Who is profiting?

What does the painting say about women? How are they using their beauty or is their beauty being used by someone else?

Who are the men in the image?

Is the beauty superficial?

What are the roles of those men?

Who has the power: one of the men, the white woman, the other women, or the painter or the viewer of the painting? Why?

Do you think the painter wishes that he could have multiple wives like the men in the “Orient”?

CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


• Where are you located in the story?

How does Orientalism impact you? How do you impact Orientalism?

Are there any stereotypes? Do you think the stereotypes are true?

Do you want to own beauty? Are you a slave to beauty? CHASSÉRIAU,  Théodore   [French  Romantic  Painter,  1819-­‐1856]     Orientalist  Interior:  Nude  in  a  Harem     1850-­‐52    Oil  on  panel,     46  x  38  cm    Private  collection   Retrieved  from:  http://lyghtmylife.tumblr.com/post/41645285433/chasseriau-­‐ theodore-­‐french-­‐romantic-­‐painter  


Final Project: • • • • • •

Pick any five images. Conduct a formal analysis. Apply critical thinking to the images. Pick at least one image from Orientalism. Create a Mural.ly visual essay. Project is due next Friday by 1 pm.

 

STUARTHEYGARTHCHANDELIERS

ANSLEMKIEFER

DALE CHIHULY

TITUS KAPHAR

ANTONI TAPIES MICHAEL RAY CHARLES

AUNT JEMIMA

TAR & FEATHER

WINNIE LUI CHANDELIER

venetian chandelier

MINE / YOURS 1995

NEFERTITI BUST

OIL SPILLS

OIL AND WATER

SPEAK OF ME AS I AM (CHANDELIER MORI ), 2003

YOUNG KKK MEMBER

DRIP DROP PLOP

GREY AREA (BROWN VERSION), 1993

ANCIENTANTHRPOMORPHIC VESSELS

TOBY JUGS

UNTITLED, 1996 MODES OF TRANSPORT 1770-1910, 1993

SYSTEMS ART WITHOUT MAKING PIECES BY HAND

FRED WILSON

Guerilla Girls POWER & REPRESENTATION

EXHIBITION

INCLUSION

DUCHAMPREADYMADES

EXCLUSION

STANDARDS & PROCEDURES

OBJECTS

TREASURE

JUNK

FOUND OBJECTS

COLLECTIBLE

MEMORIALIZATION

EMPATHETIC

COLLECTING

NON-TRADITIONAL MUSEUM WORKS GENDER

SEXUALIZED

PERSONAL / SENTIMENTAL

IDEOLOGY

GAZE

KITSCH WORTH / VALUE

STEVEWINMAN

INNOVATIVE

RACE

RARE / SCARCE

DO HUHSUH

CANDY JERNIGAN

OPPRESSIVE STATUS "PRICELESS"

HISTORICAL VALUE

ONE OF A KIND

VALERIEHAGERTY SPEAKS ABOUT "FALLENBIERSTADT " SCIENTIFIC VALUE

SYMBOLIC OR METAPHORIC OBJECTS COMMERCIAL COLLECTIONS

ANTIQUES ASSEMBLAGE SPECIMENS & DATA

VANITAS

RITUAL OBJECTS

MEMENTOS

ARTIFACTS

JOSEPH CORNELL

DAY OF THE DEAD SHRINE

SOUVENIRS & KNICKNACKS

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Decoding orientalism