church and Mosque: Medieval Art and Architecture between Christianityand IslamFall 2014
VIS 121B: Church and Mosque: Medieval Art and Architecture between Christianityand IslamFall 2014 Professor William TronzoSecond Paper Assignment Length: 4 pp. double
spaced, with a Times New Roman 12 pt. fontInclude: footnotes and a list of sources consulted (and, if possible, pleaseremember to staple your paper)An essay on Early
Islamic Art and Architecture: The origins of a traditionWe have had an opportunity to think and to write about the art and architecture ofboth Judaism and
Christianity. What I would like you to do now is to consider theMuslim tradition. Mohammad (c. 570-632) lived, preached and proselytized in a worldthat was set up in
no small part by the Christian Roman emperor Justinian (527-565),who reorganized, regrouped and reinvigorated the flagging Byzantine state and alongthe way managed to
build a church, Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, which is one ofthe greatest buildings to have survived from the entire Middle Ages and which becamea model for
Byzantine church building from that point on. Mohammad and hissuccessors revolutionized this world, not only in religious terms but also inpolitical, social and
economic ones, not to mention the all important context of artand architecture. With a beginning in Mohammads own lifetime and immediately afterhis death, and a sharp
rise under his successors, the early Islamic rulers, theCaliphs, art and architecture began to be created that served the new religion andits adherents. This art and
architecture was not created in a vacuum. It arose toa large extent in the environment of the late Roman world, from which it derivedforms, materials and approaches,
but it set these borrowings and derivations to newuses that developed them in new directions. I would like you to write about thefirst phase of the Islamic artistic
tradition, what Oleg Grabar has called TheFormation of Islamic Art, roughly in the period of seventh-ninth century. We havespoken about this visual culture in terms of
secular and sacred realms, palaces andmosques. You may want to consider either or both of these realms, or indeed anyother topic, issue of question that you think is
important to an understanding ofthis period. You may want to consider some of the following questions:1. What do we know about the patronage of the early Islamic
rulers, the caliphs? 2. What is a mosque? What are its formal characteristics? 3. What is the Dome of the Rock? What purpose did it serve?4. What pictorial elements
are characteristic of early Islamic art? Why areornamental patterns so important in Islamic art and architecture?5. How are inscriptions used in early Islamic
buildings? Additional Resources: Artstor (www.artstor.org)The files for my lectures this week are in the Artstor file for the class,121B.2014, and are classes 4, 5 and
6. Online Journal articlesThere is an issue of the Journal of Art Historiography devoted to the issue ofdefining Islamic art. This is the issue from which the article
by Avinoam Shalem,which I assigned in the second week of class, was taken. You should definitelyre-read this article and also the selection from Oleg Grabars book, The
Formationof Islamic Art, which was assigned in the same week. Grabars book is available inhard copy on reserve in Geisel so you can take a look at additional chapters
in isas well. Grabar also wrote a book on the Dome of the Rock, which is also on reservein Geisel. The Journal of Art Historiography is available online at:
https://arthistoriography.wordpress.com/number-6-june-2012-2/ This is volume 6, June 2012, entitled, ISLAMIC ART HISTORIOGRAPHYGuest edited by Moya Carey (V&A) and
Margaret S. Graves (Indiana University).
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