Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #3 – Orientalism

I am once again apologize for my absence during the last few weeks of January, because I had been stationed to another place, and the new office do not have any internet connection, hence it is hard to do any good length blogging during the day. I cannot do anything in the nighttime, because I feel really tired and weak. Some emotional problems also emerge, leaving me feeling moody and cannot do anything intelligent enough to blog.

However, I have gained my ground, and I have some will to do this blog. Since there is no Imagining Islamic Aesthetics for the last week, I will be attempting to do two posts under this category for this week.

Our subject for our first post is Orientalism. Orientalism is a term used for the appreciation of  Eastern aesthetics by Western artist.  Since the 19th century, the term “Orientalist” means the scholar of Oriental Studies. (In this blog we shall refer Orientalism and Orientalists to the study of Arabian or Islamic). We will look into this subject further in the future, a separate subject in its own right. For now we shall look how Orientalism affects Western view of aesthetics during the 19th Century.

South view of the Vorontsov castle at Alupka (Ukraine). The Castle was constructed between 1830 – 1848. You can see the apparent Islamic influence on this facade – The masonry is Gothic styled, however, the facade itself is conceived from the form of one of Islamic Architectural feature – The Iwan. Though there is no Muqarnas decorating the gate, since most of the decoration is Gothic in taste, there is some apparent usage of Islamic decorating, for example, the Andalusian  ﻻ ﻏﺎﻟﺐ ﺍﻻ ﺍﷲ  (La Ghalib Illa Allah) ,Arabic for “there is no Conqueror  except God” calligraphy as some sort of bordering.

A painting titled The Favourite by a french artist Léon-François Comerre. Not concentrating on the figure in the middle (though it is hard) you can see the immaculate details of the geometrical Zillij pattern, The calligraphy and the Arabesques in the background. The setting would not be out of place in Morocco or Andalusia.

Another painting done by the same artist with the title An Eastern Beauty. Again, wonderful representation of the Zillij Tiles, along with the Arabesques on top of a geometrical pattern dado.

A painting done by Rodolphe Ernst titled After Prayer. It depicts (to my understanding) An old man with his servant, after performing the prayers in a mosque. Note the amazing details for the Mashrabiya in the background, as well as the Iznik tiles. This painting would be imagined to be in Turkey, judging from the decoration and the architectural style.

Another painting done by the same artist titled The Standing Guard. Judging from the magnificent doors, the place which he guards could be that of a mosque or a palace.I like Rodolphe Ernst style of Orientalism Art because his painting are much more realistic and a plausible reenactment of the Arab world in the 19th century unlike others which is very much imagination-laced.


1 Comment

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One response to “Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #3 – Orientalism

  1. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting for me. I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

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