Lecture 12 – Islamic Art

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Published on 9 Feb 2014
School
Western University
Department
History
Course
History 2606E
Lecture 12 – Islamic Art
General Introduction to Islamic Art
oDoes not include sculpture and does not display the large oil paintings
which we associate with Christian religious expressions
oMore than in any other field in the civilization of Islam, the study of
Islamic art is the study of unique monuments, private cases
oMethodologies used in classifying and studying Islamic art
oChronological approach, mostly classifying in centuries
oQualitative, according to branches
oQuantitative: how many items have survived
Historical insights
oWhen, where and how did Islamic art develop?
oHistorians have always claimed that there is very little art in the Arabian
desert, therefore no inspiration
oNot completely correct
oRecent excavations found a great deal of art
oByzantium and Sassanid Persia had both greater display of art
Both forms were distinguished from each other and both
contributed to the birth of a third category in the Middle East,
which fused together
Sassanid Persian art was a vital force as well as Byzantium
o Islamic art developed together with architecture, so the study of
decorative art follows closely with architecture
Was it religious art?
oDid Islamic art begin with the mosque?
oThat means that we assume that art was religious but the first mosques
remained undecorated
oFurthermore, historians believe that the encounter with the churches in the
Middle East, which were so well decorated, actually affected the
perception of religious art in Islam in a negative way
oIn fact, because of this perception the outcome was severe for the
development of Islamic art
Sculpture never developed and painting was crippled
oOleg Grabar, the bet known historian of Islamic art and architecture
Argued that the early creative push on the part of the Muslims was
inspired by the new religion, but not in simple terms of imitating
Christian religious art
Claimed that the first artistic presentations effectively dealt with
the rule of Islam over the land, what he called “the appropriation of
the land”
The mosaics depicting the kings of the world in the Dome of the
Rock, symbolized world recognition of Islam: the building of
Baghdad as a round city meant to send the message that it is the
center of the world
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Document Summary

Islamic art is the study of unique monuments, private cases: methodologies used in classifying and studying islamic art, chronological approach, mostly classifying in centuries, qualitative, according to branches, quantitative: how many items have survived, historical insights, was it religious art, when, where and how did islamic art develop, historians have always claimed that there is very little art in the arabian desert, therefore no inspiration, not completely correct, recent excavations found a great deal of art, byzantium and sassanid persia had both greater display of art. Sassanid persian art was a vital force as well as byzantium: islamic art developed together with architecture, so the study of decorative art follows closely with architecture, did islamic art begin with the mosque, that means that we assume that art was religious but the first mosques remained undecorated, furthermore, historians believe that the encounter with the churches in the.

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