A Journey into the World of the Ottomans: The Art of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (1671–1737)
Orientalist painter Jean- Baptiste Vanmour may be the subject of the book, but its value lies in the context Olga Nefedova builds around him. Her point about Vanmour is straightforward: this Flemish artist, who worked for French and other ambassadorial missions in Istanbul, set the tone for how subsequent European painters portrayed Turkey. To drive this point home, she provides an extensively illustrated survey of European representations of “the Orient,” from European Renaissance paintings to contemporary works. She also surveys the subgenre of works by artists attached to European diplomatic missions in Turkey. As a result, she brings nuance to “Orientalist painting,” a category that has too often been seen solely through the lens of colonial-power dynamics at the expense of recognizing the individuality of creative expression.