Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 2, No 2 (2013)

Alexander von Humboldt and British artists: the Oriental taste

Elisa Garrido
Instituto de Historia CCHS-CSIC, Spain


Humboldtian landscape is the best result of a close relationship between artists and scientists in the context of the Enlightenment. Many artists inspired Humboldt to develop his concept of landscape as the best way of representing Nature, but some British artists in particular were a strong reference for him. Thomas Daniell and William Hodges had travelled to Asia creating a particular imagery, which inspired the desire to travel and the feeling of the exotic taste in Humboldt. Around Humboldt, mainly two types of artists have been studied: on the one hand, painter travellers who received direct instructions from Humboldt after his experience in America, and on the other, artists who started their trips by themselves after reading his works. However, this paper is focused on the links between Humboldt and these British painters of the Orient, whom he met on a European tour with Georg Forster, before making his trip to America.


Alexander von Humboldt; Georg Forster; Travel Literature; Thomas Daniell; William Hodges; Landscape Painting; Orientalism; East India Company

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