Painters were taken in by the rich colours, of the people at the markets, the fabrics of house interiors, and the bright light of the Arab and Ottoman world.
Orientalism became a survey of the ethnography, topography and history of the Arab and Ottoman world including Spain. In the cities, artists traced the idiosyncrasies of the architecture, the markets, street life, as well as the trades and professions of city dwellers. These paintings brought to the European people different images of life. In addition, these artists were responsible for some of the stereotypes that still persist in the West, in particular, the link between Orientalism and exoticism, the role of men, and the social status of women. European artists sought to develop imagery that would capture what they believed to be characteristic of the cities and the people of the regions they visited. The desired effect is that of “transporting” the viewer into another culture. This exhibition has some very good examples of this type of subject matter and shows how, for artists, these sources of inspiration extended from the Balkans to North Africa and Arabia.