European interest in the exotic was augmented by the wars between Greece and Turkey and colonial expansion into the Middle East and North Africa during the early to mid–nineteenth century. Scenes depicting military battles, scenes of foreign cities and country-sides, and Oriental natives (in particular, women) are the most popular subjects depicted in Orientalist paintings. These images were painted by a wide swath of artists during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many of the most famous artists had traveled to the lands they sought to depict, but many others did not and relied instead on travel accounts and popular images of an opulent, untamed Orient of fairy-tale fantasy to complete their paintings.

19th-Century Paintings