Many editions of Edward W. Said’s classic study Orientalism (1978) feature on the cover a detail from a captivating oil painting by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.1 Entitled The Snake Charmer, this striking work, which dates from around 1879–1880, has become almost synonymous with Said’s revered inquiry into “the way cultural dominance . . . operated” when Western culture turned its attention—as it did so frequently in the nineteenth century—to the Middle East (1994, 28).2 More recently, Gérôme’s Snake Charmer generated further interest when it was a centerpiece in the magnificent exhibition of his art that was shown at the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Musée d’Orsay (Paris), and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid) in 2010–11. The exquisite catalog accompanying this event contains an informative entry by Dominique de Font-Réaulx, who remarks that when Gérôme and his contemporaries (such as Charles...

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