Undergraduate Degree




DD3006 Art In The Age Of Colonialism

[Lecture: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DD1004 or DD2000; Academic Unit: 4.0]



DD1004 or DD2000​

Academic Unit


4 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To critically examine the effect that non-western art has had upon western culture and thinking.


This course explores European visual culture created in response to contact and interaction with non-Western cultures from the fifteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Various European representations of the exotic Orient (Near and Far East) will be examined. The influence of European Imperialism upon the fine arts will be analysed in relation to eighteenth-century colonial landscape painting, the Romantic Orientalism of Eugène Delacroix, the work of Jean-Auguste Dominque Ingres and Jean-Léon Gerôme, the popularization of the East in terms of Chinoiserie and Japonisme, primitivism in the work of Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso, and the odalisques of Matisse. The course will also look at the rise of ethnography and the ethnographic museum, and the role of photography and international exhibitions.

Course Outline





Lecture: Representing the “Other” 

Case study: Edward Said’s critique of Orientalism


Historic Gateways to the Orient 

Lecture: Venice, "La Serenissima" 

Case study: Gentile Bellini’s proto-Orientalism



Lecture: France in Egypt and the emergence of Orientalism 

Case Study: The "Description de l'Egypte" 1809-1828


Orientalism in Painting

Lecture: The Imagined and Imaginary Orient 

Case Study: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and 

Jean-Léon Gerôme


Indian Fantasy

Lecture: India in British Romanticism

Case Study: Thomas Daniell’s Picturesquism



Lecture: The Western Vision of "Cathy" and the Impact of China upon European Art 

Case Study: Rococo-chinoiserie in eighteenth-century France



Lecture: The Cult of Japan: 1500-1900 

Case Study: James McNeil Whistler


The New World 

Lecture: The European Representation of America 

Case Study: Albert Eckhout and Frans Post in Dutch Brazil



Lecture: Ethnographic representation and the Western canon. 

Case Study: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness


Primitivism I 

Lecture: Paul Gauguin and Primitivism in the South Pacific 

Case Study: The exotic and the supernatural in Gauguin’s work


Primitivism II 

Lecture: Primitivism and the Twentieth-Century Avant-Gardes 

Case Study: Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon


The Colonial Legacy in the Post-Colonial Age I

Lecture: International art exhibitions

Case Study: Magiciens de la terre


The Colonial Legacy in the Post-Colonial Age II

Lecture: Representation of the ex-colonial world in the new media

Case Study: Oklahoma bombing

Learning Outcome

Through an examination of the effect upon Western art by non-Western art, the student will be familiar with how one culture can appropriate, romanticise and commoditize another.

Student Assessment

  1. Class Participation: 15%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 85%

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Visual Analysis Essay

  • Group Presentation

  • Final Creative Project


  1. W J T Mitchell (Ed), Landscape and Power, University of Chicago Press

  2. Michael Sullivan, The meeting of Eastern and Western Art, Thames & Hudson

  3. Edward W Said, Orientalism, Routledge & Kegan

  4. Homi K Bhabha, The Location of Culture, Routledge

  5. Robert Goldwater, Primitivism in Modern Art, Belknap Press

  6. Anna Jackson, Amin Jaffer (Eds), Encounters: The Meeting of Asian and Europe 1500-1800, V & A, London

  7. Stefano Carboni, Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797, The Metropolitan Museum of Art