Narrations about the exotic Orient have inspired artists like Veronese and Rembrandt since the Renaissance. They illustrated the foreignness of those places, without ever seen them. But it was only after 19. Century when they began to visit the places they illustrated. People understood the Orient as a wide area which enclosed North Africa, Spain, Turkey, Middle East and even India. It became a very popular motif of academic artists.
Because of the conquest of Egypt by Napoleon, there was a great market for oriental pictures. But instead of dealing with political topics, the paintings only dealt with the foreignness of the countries. The main motifs were landscape subjects and erotic paintings of scenes of a harem.
Many paintings are characterized by photographic accurateness and a main focus on jewelry, textiles and architectural elements.
The number of oriental painters is not clear. The most important artists are Chasserriau, Delacroix und Gerome. Matisse and August Macke were painters of Orientalism in 20. Century.