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Title: A relief from Classicism : Frederic Leighton in the Near East, 1857-1895
Author: Boden, Madeline
ISNI:       0000 0004 9352 6078
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis evaluates the Near Eastern travels of the Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) and their subsequent influences on his work. The project explores the numerous trips Leighton made throughout his career across parts of the Islamic world, most significantly the Ottoman Empire, and adds a new perspective to Leighton scholarship by examining the condition of his mobility across these territories and the production of images in the wake of his travelling. While previous scholarship has established Leighton as a cosmopolitan figure, my research demonstrates that the scope of his internationalism extends beyond European centres of artistic production and reveals the significance of his influential Orientalist networks. My analysis attends to the theoretical commitments of post-Saidean Orientalist studies, which seeks to de-centre European imperial narratives by exploring Western figures within the context of Eastern empires. Leighton’s paintings and drawings inspired by the region, and extensive collection of Ottoman and Syrian decorative art objects, represent an unprecedented interest by a leading British artist in Islamic material culture, challenging our understanding of a different British Orientalism and Aestheticism as largely focused on Japonisme and Chinoiserie. The thesis focuses upon four case studies to reveal the versatility of Leighton’s Orientalism. I argue for the centrality of Orientalism as a significant part of Leighton’s artistic production and explore the political stakes of such a position during his lifetime. In reflecting on these varied aspects of Leighton’s relationship with the Near East, the scholarship is significantly expanded to include considerations wider than his relationships to Classicism, the Renaissance, and modern art, but, importantly, how those genres interrelate with his Orientalism. While the thesis focuses on a single, canonical artist, it also demonstrates how British art history can move towards a more global position to study an expanded field of relations.
Supervisor: Edwards, Jason Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available