Not All Artists Are Flunkies of the Zeitgeist

Was Jean-Leon Gerome an Orientalist painter who perpetuated the rule of the white man in the East, as postmodernist critics claim?

In her 1983 article “The Imaginary Orient,” which gained no little fame in certain circles, American art historian Linda Nochlin berated the Orientalist painter Jean-Leon Gerome. There is insufficient space here to address the full complexity of Nochlin’s thesis. That said, my aim in this column – the last in a trilogy devoted to Gerome – is to debunk her two principal arguments.

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