2009 > 2012

Promotor(s) : Prof Dr Michel Draguet

Researcher(s) : Davy Depelchin


  • Prof Dr Michel Draguet (Managing Director of the Museums)


  • Davy Depelchin (PhD student in Art History)

Scientific Committee:

  • Prof Dr Michel Draguet (Managing Director of the Museums; Professor at the ULB)
  • Prof Dr Linda Van Santvoort (Ghent University)
  • Prof Dr Jo Tollebeek (KU Leuven)

Starting date: 01.01.2009

Ending date: 31.08.2011 (extended to 31.01.2012)


Orientalism can be considered as a time-bounded referential framework for handling the exotic. The various art forms gathered under this denominator were subject to external factors (contemporary scientific beliefs, political-imperial interests, increased mobility, etc.), in themselves they were constitutive elements in the formation of images of the Orient. As the outcome of a creative act, they generated autonomous images - albeit interconnected by thematic and technical concepts - that represented not the physical reality of the Orient, but the personal vision of their creators - however closely this potentially approached the reality of the oriental world.  Yet this did not prevent this corpus of images and the related associations being directly projected by Westerners onto the geographical Orient. Art to a largely extent determined the face of the East for Western audiences.

This multi-year research program focused on an unexplored aspect of nineteenth-century Belgian art history and its conceptualization in an international context. The primary objective was to create the scientific framework and provide the necessary scientific contributions for putting together an exhibition From Delacroix to Kandinsky.  Orientalism in Europe. The researcher had the scientific leadership for organizing this exhibition and was also the final editor of the trilingual catalogue.