Orientalism in Landscapes of the MENA countries as Edward W. Said recalled sometime back, in reaction to critics of his book “Orientalism” http://www.amazon.co.uk/Orientalism-Edward-W-Said/dp/0141187425 , “Orientalism is the product of circumstances that are fundamentally, indeed radically, fractious.”
These depictions are usually done by western writers, designers and artists from the established intellectual élite. French, British, American and other western paintings of the Orient were basically a voyage of discovery, whilst expressing the way in which the West observes the Arabs. In Said’s analysis, the West reduces these Arab societies to static imageries perhaps biased in fabricating a view of an Oriental culture that can be studied, depicted, and reproduced and that at the same time and implicitly, seeds the idea of Western society being superior, rational and open to development.
Orientalism is, as defined by Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orientalism a term that is used by art historians, literary and cultural studies scholars for the imitation or depiction of aspects in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cultures (Eastern cultures).
These depictions are usually done by western writers, designers and artists from the established intellectual élite.
In particular, Orientalist painting, depicting more specifically “the Middle East”, was one of the many specialisms of 19th-century Academic art, and the literature of Western countries took a similar interest in Oriental themes.
Here are some of the most representative masterpieces of such an era.