Bloom, Kelly. “Orientalism in French 19th Century Art”. BA, Boston College, 2004. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/477.
The Orient has been a mythical, looming presence since the foundation of Islam in the 7th century. It has always been the “Other” that Edward Said wrote about in his 1979 book Orientalism. The gulf of misunderstanding between the myth and the reality of the Near East still exists today in the 21st century. Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 and the subsequent colonization of the Near East is perhaps the defining moment in the Western perception of the Near East. At the beginning of modern colonization, Napoleon and his companions arrived in the Near East convinced of their own superiority and authority; they were Orientalists. The supposed superiority of Europeans justified the colonization of Islamic lands. Said never specifically wrote about art; however, his theories on colonialism and Orientalism still apply. Linda Nochlin first made use of them in her article “The Imaginary Orient” from 1983. Artists such as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Eugène Delacroix and Jean-Léon Gérôme demonstrate Said's idea of representing the Islamic “Other” as a culturally inferior and backward people, especially in their portrayal of women. The development of photography in the late 19th century added another dimension to this view of the Orient, with its seemingly objective viewpoint.