Metropolis und Exotik: Heinrich Heine über Léopold Robert und Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps

Angel Valentinov Angelov


The author argues that Heine outlined an imagined geography of Europe via reference to a number of paintings, divided into historical (France, England) and national exotic (Italy, Tirol, the Pyrenees). Heine’s social and historical actuality did not exclude the creation of ideological and non-historical images. Heine over-interpreted Alexandre Gabriel Decamps’s genre painting “Cadji-Bey, chef de la police de Smyrne, faisant sa ronde” as an image of injustice; the image represents a world that is not only devoid of civilization but degenerate and bestial. Animal resemblance denies history to that world. Finally, the author explores the significance of the gaze from outside in addressing exoticism in the works of Decamps and Léopold Robert and the way in which looking from the outside may create exotic images derived not from foreign cultures, but from the peripheries of European countries. (AVA; in German)

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