This article aims to analyze Mihaly Munkacsy’s painting in connection with the Tiszaeszlár Affair that took place in Hungary between 1882 and 1883 causing anti-Semitic agitations in the country. Before explaining the basic premises of the article, I want to underline the scholar and artistic doubts about the painting itself. Various hesitations and questions were raised whether the mentioned painting belongs to Mihaly Munkacsy and if it was painted deliberately to portray the Tiszaeszlár Affair. These debates on the authenticity of the painting as well as the issues about these historical events are beyond the scope of this article.
Following Peter Burke’s argument that “any image may serve as historical evidence” this article…show more content… Jews and Judaism have been mostly neglected in prevailing Orientalism discourses since the main focus was on the Islamic Orient, Muslims or Arabs. Recently, growing number of scholars such as Gil Anidjar, Kalmar, Ivan Davidson, Derek Jonathan Penslar, Steven Aschheim, and Achim Rohde expanding Said’s Orientalism approach offered innovative analysis of entangled and multilayered genealogies of anti-Semitism and Orientalism focusing on historical and geographical divergence and…show more content… For achieving the dramaticizing effect or creating a sense of eye-witnessing, the artworks can also encourge the spectator “to identify with a victor or a victim” which I believe this is closely relevant with the painting I am going to analyze further in the paper.
At this point, I want to briefly mention about theatricality and its close relation to Orientalism as a discourse in general and to Orientalist painting in particular. Let me briefly explain first how the concept of theatricality will be integrated to the essay. Among the complex conceptualizations of theatricality, parallel with the objectives of this essay theatricality will be adapted from Elisabeth Burns. According to Burns theatricality is a “historically and culturally determined” mode of perception.” Agreeing also with Balme who reappropriated the notion, I will also conceptualize theatricality both “as a mode of Perception” and as a “discursive practice”. Such conceptualization offers a better understanding of the artworks by combining aesthetic patterns with discursive