Imagining the Orient

A National Gallery of Victoria Touring Exhibition

7 July – 29 August 2010
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

15 October – 28 November 2010
Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery

15 January – 27 February 2011 
Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

16 March – 1 May 2011
Hamilton Art Gallery

This exhibition is touring regional galleries in Victoria and features around 50 works representing the European fascination with the ‘Orient’.  The Orient was a collective name for today’s Near and Middle East, including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, as well as parts of North Africa such as Egypt, Algiers and Morocco. In the first half of the nineteenth century, French and British travellers began to explore these unfamiliar regions. The desert landscape, ancient ruins, exotic art and architecture, and Islamic customs and dress were a great source of fascination.  Knowledge of the Orient was communicated through travel literature and images of exotic places and people. This exhibition includes paintings, prints, drawings and photographs that show how the Orient was experienced and imagined in Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It also includes Oriental artefacts which inspired European design and decorative motifs in all kinds of objects including ceramics and glassware.

Key Works


A National Gallery of Victoria Touring Exhibition

This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria’s Major Touring Initiative

Indemnification for this exhibition is provided by the Victorian Government