Inspired by the “East”: Egyptomania and Mariano Fortuny
It is not enough to copy forms of Arab and Ottoman artworks ‒ artists must “re-create” them in the cauldron of their sensibility and in the context of their times.(Paraphrasing Jean-Marcel Humbert)
The influence of Orientalism was evident in European fashion throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The first changes were seen in the motifs used in jewellery before they became evident in clothing as the century progressed. The straight tunics worn in the Arab and Ottoman world influenced women’s clothing, the straight cut, and natural waists representing a change to the shape of Western women’s dress which had previously featured corsets and crinolines. This new, more natural shape was developed by a number of different designers and dressmakers. One such designer was Mariano Fortuny, whose Orientalism-inspired textile designs and garments, such as tunics or capes and coats similar to Bedouin cloaks, had a major impact on European fashion in the early 20th century.
Bracelet in French Egyptian Revival style

c. 1809

Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy

Jean Baptiste Claude Odiot

Gold; engraving; niello

Egyptomania began with Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt in 1798. The design for this bracelet, decorated with hieroglyphics and other Egyptian motifs, is taken from the book by French artist Dominique-Vivant Denon, entitled Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte (1802), and was made by the French jeweller Odiot, one of the most important jewellers of the early 19th century.

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