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Cultural encounters

Even when they try to lock out outside influences, cultures are permeable. Explore five examples of artistic cross-pollination by the cultural currents that flow all round the world.

17th Century

Cultural encounters

Vermeer

At first glance, Vermeer is a painter of Dutch domestic interiors but a closer reading reveals that his paintings are infused with the globalism of the Dutch Golden Age.

18th Century

Cultural encounters

Bamboo in Wind and Rain and Cracked Ice - Maruyama Okyo

The optical devices Dutch traders took to Japan influenced the way her artists depicted the world. Okyo’s drawing of cracked ice is, according to David Olusoga, one of the most sophisticated works of cultural synthesis ever made.

19th Century

Cultural encounters

The Impressionists

The Impressionists loved the art of Japan and in Monet’s house you can still see his collection of over 200 Japanese prints. The work of Japanese artists had a powerful effect on the way the Impressionists reinvented modern art.

1834

Cultural encounters

Women of Algiers in their Apartment - Delacroix

The painting that inspired Orientalism was the first serious attempt to portray ordinary life in the Islamic world. However, like much of the work it inspired, it contains elements of European fantasy

19th Century

Cultural encounters

Maori Portraits - Gottfried Lindauer

In 1874, the Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer went to New Zealand intending to document its vanishing indigenous people but, to his surprise, his work was enthusiastically co-opted by successful Maori chieftains.