10 Orientalist Paintings by Artists from the 19th Century, with footnotes, 16

Orientalism is a term that is used for the depiction of aspects in Middle Eastern cultures. It refers to the works of the Western artists on Oriental subjects, produced from their travels in Western Asia, during the 19th century. Depictions of Islamic "Moors" and "Turks" can be found in Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art. A creative apprehension of a completely different world with its own laws, customs, special attitude towards life and death, love, feelings, and beauty. Wikipedia/Yana Naumovna Lukashevskaya

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916)
An Eastern Beauty
oil on canvas
44 x 28 ¾ in. (111.8 x 73 cm.)
Private Collection

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women. Comerre was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853. From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867. From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.

Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome. This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the "Exposition Universelle" in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903.

Francisco de Goya,  (1746–1828)
The Second of May 1808 or The Charge of the Mamelukes, c. 1814
Oil on canvas
266 × 345 cm (104.7 × 135.8 in)
Prado Museum

May 02, 1808. Francisco de Goya witnessed first hand the French occupation of Spain in 1808, when Napoleon used the pretext of reinforcing his army in Portugal to seize the Spanish throne, leaving his brother Joseph in power. Attempts to remove members of the Spanish royal family from Madrid provoked a widespread rebellion. This popular uprising occurred between the second and third of May 1808, when suppressed by forces under Maréchal Joachim Murat. In this image: The Second of May 1808, also known as The Charge of the Mamelukes, a painting by the Spanish master Francisco de Goya. More

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of modern times. More on Francisco José de Goya

John Reinhard Weguelin,  (1849–1927)
The Obsequies of an Egyptian Cat, c. 1886
Oil on canvas
994 x 1425 x 85 mm

A priestess offers gifts of food and milk to the spirit of a cat. On an altar stands the mummy of the deceased, and the tomb is decorated with frescoes, urns of fresh flowers, lotus blossoms, and statuettes. The priestess kneels as she wafts incense smoke toward the altar. In the background, a statue of Sekhmet or Bastet guards the entrance to the tomb. More this painting

In 1889 eight illustrations by J R Weguelin, although not this image, were published in The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt, by the popular and prolific historical novelist G A Henty. The plot turns on the accidental killing of a sacred cat:

So esteemed were even the most common animals of the cat tribe that, if a cat happened to die in a house, the inhabitants went into mourning and shaved their eyebrows in token of their grief; the embalmers were sent for, the dead cat made into a mummy, and conveyed with much solemnity to the great catacombs set aside for the burial of the sacred animals. More Egyptian Cat

John Reinhard Weguelin,  (1849–1927)
The Bath, c. 1890
Oil on canvas
20 × 10 in (50.8 × 25.4 cm)
Private Collection

John Reinhard Weguelin RWS (June 23, 1849 – April 28, 1927) was an English painter and illustrator, active from 1877 to after 1910. He specialized in figurative paintings with lush backgrounds, typically landscapes or garden scenes. Weguelin emulated the neo-classical style of Edward Poynter and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painting subjects inspired by classical antiquity and mythology. He depicted scenes of everyday life in ancient Greece and Rome, as well as mythological subjects, with an emphasis on pastoral scenes. Weguelin also drew on folklore for inspiration, and painted numerous images of nymphs and mermaids. 

Although his earliest work was in watercolour, all of Weguelin's important works from 1878 to 1892 were oil paintings. 

Weguelin's work was exhibited at the Royal Academy and a number of other important London galleries, and was highly regarded during his career. However, he was forgotten following the first World War, as his style of painting fell out of fashion. More John Reinhard Weguelin

Oil on panel
61 x 49 cm ; 24 by 19 1/4 in.
Private Collection

Rudolf Ernst (14 February 1854, Vienna - 1932, Fontenay-aux-Roses) was an Austro-French painter, printmaker and ceramics painter who is best known for his orientalist motifs. He exhibited in Paris under the name "Rodolphe Ernst".

He was the son of an architect and, encouraged by his father, began studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna at the age of fifteen. He spent some time in Rome, copying the old masters, and continued his lessons in Vienna with August Eisenmenger and Anselm Feuerbach.

In 1876, he settled in Paris. The following year, he participated in his first artists' salon. He later made trips to Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Constantinople to study and document what he saw there.

In 1905, he moved to Fontenay-aux-Roses where he set up a shop to produce faience tiles with orientalist themes. He decorated his home in Ottoman style and lived a reclusive life. His exact date of death was apparently not recorded. More Rudolf Ernst 


Stephan Sedlacek, 1868 - 1936, AUSTRIAN
Oil on canvas
82 by 129cm., 32 by 50½in.
Private Collection

Stephan Sedlacek : Czech, b. 1868 – d. 1936, a Victorian artist. Full detailed biography have been difficult to collect.

Sedlacek appears to have had quite a close understanding of the upper classes, with a few images of lower classes visiting fortune tellers, and a series on visiting an oriental harem, but for the most part Sedlacek seems to focus on capturing the opulence of the social activities of the elite. The people are small, wrapped in the finery of their fashion and surroundings, basking in the fortune that has smiled upon them. The scenes are calm, peaceful and very refined. An embodiment of the ideals of the era. More Stephan Sedlacek

Gustav Bauernfeind, 1848 - 1904, GERMAN
A WELL IN JAFFA, c. 1880 
Watercolour and pencil on paper
35.5 by 48cm., 14 by 19in.
Private Collection

The present work dates from Bauernfeind's first visit to Palestine in 1880. Although Jaffa was the main port of entry for travelers to Jerusalem, Bauernfeind was one of the few Orientalist artists to depict the city. More Jaffa

Jaffa is an ancient port city in Palistine. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and Saint Peter as well as the mythological story of Andromeda and Perseus.

The town was mentioned in Egyptian sources and the Amarna letters as Yapu. Mythology says that it is named for Japheth, one of the sons of Noah, the one who built it after the Flood. The Hellenist tradition links the name to Iopeia, or Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda. An outcropping of rocks near the harbor is reputed to have been the place where Andromeda was rescued by Perseus. Pliny the Elder associated the name with Iopa, daughter of Aeolus, god of the wind. The Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi referred to it as Yaffa. More Yaffa

Gustav Bauernfeind, 1848 - 1904, GERMAN
Market at Jaffa, 1877
Oil on canvas
Private Collection

Gustav Bauernfeind (4 September 1848, Sulz am Neckar - 24 December 1904, Jerusalem) was a German painter, illustrator and architect. He is considered to be one of the most notable Orientalist painters of Germany.

After completing his architectural studies in Stuttgart, he worked in the architectural firm of Professor Wilhelm Bäumer and later in that of Adolph Gnauth, where he also learned painting. In his earlier paintings, Bauernfeind focused on local views of Germany, as well as motifs from Italy. During his journey to the Levant from 1880 to 1882, he became interested in the Orient and repeated his travels again and again. In 1896 he moved with his wife and son all the way to Palestine and subsequently settled in Jerusalem in 1898. He also lived and worked in Lebanon and Syria.

Gustav Bauernfeind, 1848 - 1904, GERMAN
Oil on panel
24 by 32cm., 9½ by 12½in.
Private Collection

His work is characterized primarily by architectural views of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The paintings of Bauernfeind are mostly meticulously crafted, intricately composed and almost photographically accurate cityscapes and images of known sanctuaries in oil. In addition, he produced landscape scenes and watercolours. During his lifetime he was the most popular Orientalist painter of Germany, but soon fell into oblivion after his death. However, since the early 1980s, Bauernfeind was gradually rediscovered. At his birthplace in Sulz am Neckar, the life and work of the painter is commemorated by the Gustav Bauernfeind Museum with a large permanent exhibition. More Gustav Bauernfeind 

The Temple Mount, "Mount of the House [of God, known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif,  "the Noble Sanctuary", is a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is one of the most important religious sites in the world. It has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The present site is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. Herodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be reached through eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts in the vicinity of each. More on The Temple Mount

The view is through the Bab as-Silsileh (Chain Gate) in the Temple Mount's western wall, with the Dome of the Rock beyond.

Jacques-Joseph Eeckhout, ANVERS 1793 - 1861 PARIS, ÉCOLE BELGE
Oil on canvas
57,5 x 48 cm ; 22 5/8 by 18 7/8 in.
Private Collection

Jacobus Josephus Eeckhout (2 June 1793 – 25 December 1861) was a Flemish painter. He was born at Antwerp, and studied first at the Academy of that city. He painted historical and genre subjects, and portraits, and in 1829 he was elected a member of the Academies of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, and Rotterdam. He settled at the Hague in 1831, and in 1839 became director of the Academy in that city, and after staying at Mechlin and Brussels he went to live in Paris in 1859. He imitated Rembrandt with some skill, and may be considered one of the most distinguished painters of the modern Dutch school. His compositions are expressive and lively, and the colouring vigorous. More on Jacobus Josephus Eeckhout 

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