Art History Write Short Post 300 words (150 for each part)

timer Asked: Mar 28th, 2015
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Question description

1. Write a personal reflection on Jean-Léon Gérôme THE SNAKE CHARMER. This should be based on your own observations, thoughts, feelings. Please use this portion of the discussion to discuss the formal elements and subject matter.

2. Discuss the cultural changes happening during the period covered in the reading. Compare that culture to contemporary American culture. This should be a personal reflection of the comparison of cultures from your perspective/experience, not a summary of the text.

You may use the internet to research.

From the textbook:


In The Snake Charmer, French academic painter Jean-León Gérôme

(1824–1904) luxuriates in the nineteenth-century fantasy of the Middle

East—an example of Orientalism in art. A young boy, entirely naked,

handles a python, while an older man beside him plays a fi pple fl ute,

and a huddled audience sits in the background shadows. The setting

is a large blue-tiled room, painted with an almost photographic clarity

and attention to detail, leading us to think that this is an accurate

representation of a specifi c event in an actual place. Gérôme traveled

to the Middle East several times, and was praised by critics of the

1855 Salon for his ethnographic accuracy, but his Snake Charmer is

a complete fi ction, mixing Egyptian, Turkish, and Indian cultures

together in a fantasized pastiche.

The French fascination with Middle Eastern cultures dates to

Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt and his wanton looting of objects

from the country for the Louvre Museum, which he opened in 1804.

In the 1840s and 1850s, photographic studios were established by

British, French, and Italian photographers at major tourist sites in the

Middle East in order to provide photographs for European visitors

and armchair tourists at home, thus satisfying and fueling a popular

interest in the region.

Orientalism is found in both academic and avant-garde modern

art; we have already encountered it in the Neoclassicism of Ingres (SEE

FIG. 17–16). The scholar Edward Said described Orientalism as the

colonial gaze in which the colonizer gazes upon the colonized Orient

(the Middle East rather than Asia) as something to possess, as a

“primitive” or “exotic” playground for the “civilized” European visitor,

in which “native” men are savage and despotic and “native” women—

and here boys—are sensuously described and sexually alluring.

Tutor Answer

UC Berkeley

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Wow this is really good.... didn't expect it. Sweet!!!!

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