On the Paths of Englightenment

The Myth of India in Western Culture 1808–2017


The West’s fascination with India from the 1800s to today in painting, photography, music, architecture and design.

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ISBN: 9788857236667 Category:

Elio Schenini


In 1808, the book On the Language and Wisdom of the Indians by Friedrich Schlegel opened the West’s new and ever-intense curiosity for India and its extraordinary civilization. Beginning with Schlegel and the subsequent reflections on Hinduism and Buddhism by Schopenhauer, followed in the early decades of the 20th century by the literary works of Hermann Hesse and the anthropological analyses of Carl Gustav Jung, India and its millenary traditions have in fact seduced countless intellectuals and artists in the West. Based on these experiences, often matured in German art, that “myth of India” slowly grew and conquered the youth around the globe in the 1960s and 1970s. Fifty years after 1968, the theme of the “trip across India”, a real or imaginary experience where the spiritual restlessness of entire generations unfolded, makes a comeback in this publication, issued for the exhibition by the same title at the Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana in Lugano. This publication covers the history of the West’s “fascination with India” through a wealth of illustrations and impressive contributions by various authors who linger upon multiple fields of this fascination that was expressed from art to literature, music to religion, history of customs to psychology. What results is a singular and evocative itinerary, full of stimuli, across these past two centuries of Western culture, boasting illustrious figures such as Schopenhauer, Kipling, Salgari, Redon, Gustave Moreau, Mata Hari, Kirchner, Hesse, Jung, Cartier Bresson, Le Corbusier, Ginsberg, Pasolini, Sottsass, the Beatles, Rauschenberg, Francesco Clemente, Luigi Ontani.

Additional information

Weight 1560 g
Dimensions 17.6 x 24.5 cm
Publisher name Skira Editore S.p.A
Publication date 1 June 2018
Number of pages 672
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Elio Schenini
Dimensions 17.6 x 24.5 cm
Weight 1560 g