What is the course about?
In this course we will investigate the roots of Islamic art and architecture. By taking into consideration the 7th century and the advent of Islam as a watershed, we will start a journey among the civilisations that have had a strong impact on its artistic development.
What will we cover?
In the first part of the study-day we will analyse the art of pre-Islamic Arabia, the Nabateans and the citadel of Petra, the Palmyran art, the Byzantines and the Sasanians. We will examine the Byzantine Churches in Ravenna with their elaborate mosaic technique and we will have a look at the Sasanian silverware decoration. In the second part we will focus on the first centuries of Islamic art and we will try to identify what has been absorbed and at time transformed from the pre-existing civilisations.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- discuss the arts and artefacts produced in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic period;
- locate artwork and artefacts in their historical, political, religious, cultural context;
- establish skills of critical and visual analysis.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teaching is intended to be interactive. PowerPoint presentations with a wide range of slides will accompany the prepared talks. Questioning is welcomed throughout. Handouts with a selected bibliography and other helpful information for further self-study will be provided.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other cost for the study day. Please, bring with you a notebook, a pencil and your eagerness to learn a lot about the amazing history of Islamic art.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Any other Classical civilisations or history classes.