Fine Arts | Survey of Islamic Art
A327 | 26707 | Gruber


This course examines the beginnings, development, and maturation of
Islamic art and architecture around the world from the 7th to the
20th century. Beginning with a discussion of Islam, Muhammad, the
Qur’an, and a definition of “Islamic” art, we will discuss the roles
and meanings of demarcating divine topography as visible in the
Ka‘ba in Mecca and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The rapid
spread of Islam to the east and west during the 9th- 11th centuries
created a new vocabulary for Islamic art and architecture, fusing
pre-existing Byzantine and Persian models with Islamic innovations.
We will look at mosque and palace complexes in north Africa,
southern Spain, as well as in Mesopotamia and Central Asia. During
the Crusades, Islam came into close contact with Europe, resulting
in fascinating hybrid objects and architecture that call into
question the simplistic division of “East” and “West.” From the 15th
to the 17th century, the three so-called gunpowder states of
Anatolia (the Ottomans), Persia (the Safavids), and the Indian
Subcontinent (the Mughals) created new concepts of empire, wealth,
and administration in the imperial cities of Istanbul, Isfahan, and
Agra. Finally, Colonialism and Orientalism will be examined, as well
as the emergence of modern Islamic art.