I found this part of the course a little frustrating as the exercises in the handbook didn’t seem to tie in too well with a traditional art history style essay. But I persevered and looking back I think that I have moved the essay on that bit further.
I’ve changed course slightly as a result of my findings on this part of the course. In the data gathering part of the section I researched more about the artists view of Japan and Japanese art. This ranged from Vincent Van Gogh, who had a very idealised (and very misplaced) view of Japanese culture and society mostly derived from novels and journals, to Edna Boies Hopkins who visited Japan and studied the Japanese technique of woodblock printing while she was there. In between was Odilon Redon who, while never havng visited Japan, had studied East and South East Asian religion and spirituality. Therefore, rather than looking at the influence of Japanese art on the work of 3 or 4 European or North American artists, it seemed to me that the question of whether or not Japonisme was a form of Orientalism became more relevant.
Consequently I changed the research question to “Is Japonisme a Form of Orientalism? An analysis with particular reference to floral images produced by artists in Europe and America in the period 1880-1920”.