0096 "The Russian Gérôme"? Vereshchagin as a Painter of Turkestan
"The Russian Gérôme" – thus was Vereshchagin dubbed by English critics in 1872 and the comparison was repeatedly to be made by contemporaries. This article looks at where the two artists really do reveal similarities and at the deep-rooted differences in their presentation of the Orient, with an emphasis on Vereshchagin's first large work, his Turkestan series. Although Vereshchagin also took up oriental subjects later in his career, in this author's opinion the Turkestan series represents the most fruitful attempt to master the French model of orientalising painting, above all that of Gérôme, not only in his own oeuvre but in Russian nineteenth-century art as a whole. As such, it provides us with ideal material to assess the individual and national features of Vereshchagin's orientalism.
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