Insular art (Hiberno-Saxon art)= the style of art produced in the post-Roman history of
the British Isles. The term derives from insula, the Latin term for "island"; in this period
Great Britain and Ireland shared a largely common style different from that of the rest of
Early Islamic Art: A New Art for a New Religion
Mohamed was the son of a merchant, and starts a small new religion with people
gathering around his home. Newly emerging religion/ dynasties emerging around it.
Muhammed’s humble house, Medina, is transformed into the monumental Mosque of
How does early Islamic art transform Byzantine traditions?
How does early Islamic art and architecture express new religious ideas?
How did patrons use visuals culture to construct and convey a self image?
New forms and monument types:
Historical Context: Muhammed and Islam
● 570-622 CE= Muhammad is born in Mecccam, receives revelations at 40
● 632 CE= Muhammad dies, having founded a new religion, his successors become
caliphs (deputy of god on earth)
● 690-720 CE= period is fundamental to self definition of the Islamic community
● Small scale transformation in culture.
● Took control of land that once was ruled by the Romans and Byzantines, creating
a fusion of visual cultures.
● Creating own visual identity
● tawhid= uniqueness and unity of God (no figural imagery)
● Considered as a final state of revelation (Jesus and Mary venerated)
● Centered on community
● Shows up in monument/ works
Five Ritual Requirements
● Profess faith in God and his messenger
● Prayer 5 times a day ● Fast during Ramadan
● Pilgrimage to Mecca
The Dome of the Rock is significant because it is the first major Islamic
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem (691-692 CE, blue tiles/ gold added in the 16th century)
● Designed to focus our attention on the center
● Different from basilicas, which want us to look down the center to a central apse
● Gold, marble, mosaic (rich materials)
● Centrally planned octagonal structure with circular aisles with a dome on a drum
● Drum lifts the dome up to see it better form the exterior, and as a place to add
decoration (mosaics, gold, etc)
● Vegetal designs, abstract crowns/ jewels, arabic inscriptions.
● Tweak the use of mosaic and marble.
Dome of the Rock Murals vs Hagia Sophia Murals
● Both mosaics
● Same materials
● Similar technique
● Similar palette/ subject (floral technique)
● Hagia Sophia less intricate/ impressive
● Dome of the Rock is more impressive, intricate, rich/dazzling
● Arabic inscriptions
● Organised differently (open space vs all over decoration)
● Kufic (angular arabic script)
Historical Context of Dome of the rock
● 690-720 CE= emergence of Islamic state under the Umayyads
● Patron= Abd al-Malik
● Interested in putting it in J