1800-1825
   

The Pesthouse at Jaffa.
1804. Gros, Baron Jean-Antoine.

  Between 1798 and 1914, North Africa and the Near East held a fascination for France. The multi-volume "Description del'Egypt"(1808-29), subsequently produced by the savants whom Napoleon Bonaparte had taken with him on his invasion force, stimulated in Europe a greater interest in Near Eastern matters, and the French expedition of 1798 was the first of many European interventions in the region and of the colonization of North Africa. By 1914 very little of the Balkans was still in Turkish hands, while most of the North African provinces had passed into the hands of France.
   
  One of the beliefs that profoundly affected the Western understanding of the Near East, was that this region could satisfy the West's urge for exotic experience. Exoticism meant the artistic exploration of territories and ages in which the free flights of the imagination were possible because they lay outside the restrictive operation of classical rules.
Turkish Bath
1862. Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique.
   
   

Large Odalisque
1814-. Ingres, Jean-Auguste-Dominique.

 

The nude women with worldly favor first appeared in the early nineteenth century. Ingres, who never traveled to North Africa or to the Near East, portrays his exotic dream of Large Odalisque as a woman of fleshy sensuousness. The exotic subject in the setting of the Turkish house (oda)-allowed the artist to paint a full nude without offense. His detailed rendering of the texture and color of fabrics gave to his paintings a rich tone and a luxurious tactile surface.