Alphonse Etienne Dinet was a French artist from a wealthy background in 19th-century Paris who painted in what was called the Orientalist style, normally a Western view of the Middle East and North Africa which stereotyped its people as “wild” and “exotic”.
Edward Said’s 1978 book, Orientalism, caused critics and historians to re-appraise their view of this style, as Said argued it represented a patronising, colonial attitude towards the life, culture and people of the Middle East.
But unlike most Orientalist painters, Dinet travelled frequently to North Africa, and his work, far from being colonial in outlook, came to be seen as a true and sympathetic depiction of life in the Arab world.
Since Dinet’s death nine decades ago, his distinctive paintings have graced museums, art galleries and collections all over the world.
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