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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. 1905; d. Hamburg, 1951).

Iranian scholar of Persian art. After graduating from the Dar al-Moallemin in Tehran in 1931, he worked at the court of Riza Pahlavi (r. 1925–41) until 1934, when he was sent to study art and archaeology in Europe. There, he studied at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris and under Ernst Kühnel at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin. In 1937 he received his doctorate and returned to Tehran, where he specialized in the study of Islamic pottery at the Archaeological Museum and taught at the University. He was later appointed chief curator and then director of the museum. In 1948 he helped organize the Iranian exhibition at the Musée Cernuschi to coordinate with the XXI International Congress of Orientalists in Paris; in the following year, on the occasion of the Shah’s state visit to the USA, he brought an exhibition of Iranian art to New York (Met.) and Boston (Mus. F.A.)....

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Oleg Grabar

(b Geneva, March 16, 1863; d Geneva, March 13, 1921).

Epigrapher and historian of Islamic art and archaeology. Born to a well-to-do and intellectually active Genevan family of bankers (the scholar of linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913) was a cousin), van Berchem was educated as a philologist and historian in Geneva, Germany and France. He combined the intellectual traditions of France and Germany and belonged to a supranational brotherhood of wealthy scholars independent of political or other contingencies. In 1889 he travelled through Egypt, Palestine and Syria and became convinced that ‘a well-studied monument is of greater value than the best text’. He discovered that the inscriptions typical of Islamic urban architecture provided an extraordinary documentation on everything from the means of construction and date to symbolic and esoteric meanings. This discovery, honed by other trips, led to a series of articles on what van Berchem called ‘l’archéologie arabe’, still the most profound statements about the methods of explaining classical Islamic architecture in context. Van Berchem also persuaded the French Academy to sponsor the series ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Lölling, July 27, 1878; d Vienna, July 8, 1961).

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ De materia medica (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. med. gr. 1) copied for the Byzantine princess Juliana Anicia before ad 512. After military service (1902–3), Diez pursued further research in Rome and Istanbul and worked in Vienna as a volunteer (1905–7) at the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie. From 1908 to 1911 he worked in Berlin at the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum with Max Jacob Friedländer, Wilhelm Bode and Friedrich Sarre. He was then appointed lecturer at the University of Vienna. From 1912 to 1914 he made trips to Iran, India, Egypt and Anatolia, which led to articles on Islamic art and architecture and ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. Eger, 1926).

Hungarian art historian and archaeologist active in Britain. After studing Arabic and Oriental Art in Budapest, Fehérvári began his career there in 1952 at the Francis Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, he moved to Vienna to begin a Ph.D. at the university of Vienna. He continued his doctoral research with a scholarship to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, working under the supervision of David Storm Rice. He was awarded a doctorate in 1961 for his study of the mihrab, and soon after he was appointed lecturer and later professor at SOAS. He conducted excavations in Iran (Ghubayra, 1971–6), Libya (Medinat al-Sultan, 1977–81) and Egypt (Bahnasa/Oxyrhynchus, 1985–7), and published on Islamic ceramics and metalwork. Following his retirement in 1991 and political changes in Hungary, he joined the Hungarian diplomatic service and was appointed Ambassador to Kuwait and other Gulf states, remaining in that position until ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Chaumont, Haute-Marne, Jan 21, 1881; d Paris, July 31, 1965).

French archaeologist and art historian, active in Iran. Godard qualified as an architect at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and in 1910 became involved with the urban planning of Baghdad. At this time, he began to develop an interest in the archaeology and art of the Middle East. He visited Egypt and Syria and, in 1923, went to Afghanistan to research Buddhist remains. In 1928 he settled in Iran, where he lived until 1960, except for the years 1953–6. During his years in Iran he directed the College of Fine Arts, Tehran, and the Department of Antiquities, founded the Archaeological (Iran Bastan) Museum and drew up plans for the museums of Mashhad and Abadan. He also initiated the documentation and restoration of many ancient monuments and archaeological remains and gained access to sites previously forbidden to non-Muslims. He published many of the principal monuments of Iran in such learned journals as ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Edhem, Osman Hamdi; Hamdi Bey]

(b Istanbul, Dec 30, 1842; d Eskihisar, Gebze, nr Istanbul, Feb 24, 1910).

Turkish painter, museum director and archaeologist. In 1857 he was sent to Paris, where he stayed for 11 years, training as a painter under Gustave Boulanger and Jean-Léon Gérôme. On returning to Turkey he served in various official positions, including two years in Baghdad as chargé d’affaires, while at the same time continuing to paint. In 1873 he worked on a catalogue of costumes of the Ottoman empire, with photographic illustrations, for the Weltausstellung in Vienna. In 1881 he was appointed director of the Archaeological Museum at the Çinili Köşk, Topkapı Palace, in Istanbul. He persuaded Sultan Abdülhamid II (reg 1876–1909) to issue an order against the traffic in antiquities, which was put into effect in 1883, and he began to direct excavations within the Ottoman empire. As a result he brought together Classical and Islamic objects for the museum in Istanbul, including the Sarcophagus of Alexander, unearthed in Sidon in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(Emil)

(b Celle, July 23, 1879; d Basle, Jan 21, 1948).

German architect, archaeologist, historian and philologist. He was educated at the universities of Munich and Berlin and at the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenburg, where he trained as an architect. In 1903 he visited the Middle East by participating as field architect in the excavation of Assur by the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft. The expedition was led by Friedrich Delitzsch, Herzfeld’s instructor in Assyrian and Arabic, and it enabled him to learn the techniques of excavation and to develop his interest in early Islamic culture. After returning to Germany, he made a journey through Luristan to visit Pasargadae and Persepolis, and following the acceptance of his doctoral thesis on Pasargadae by the University of Berlin in 1907, he travelled with Friedrich Sarre, his lifelong colleague and friend whom he had met in 1905, from Istanbul via Aleppo and Baghdad to the Gulf to find an Islamic site suitable for excavation. The choice fell upon ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Leningrad, July 3, 1929).

Russian curator and historian of Islamic art. He studied and taught at the University of Leningrad in the late 1940s and 1950s and received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the Institute of Archaeology there. From 1956 he worked in the Oriental Department at the Hermitage Museum, serving as Keeper from 1984. A specialist in the arts of Iran, he wrote many articles on metalwares and manuscript painting for such journals as Epigrafika Vostoka (Epigraphy of the East), Soobshcheniya Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha (the journal about the Hermitage collections) and Iran (the bulletin of the British Institute of Persian Studies). He contributed essays and entries to such important catalogues as Masterpieces of Islamic Art in the Hermitage Museum (Kuwait, Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah; 1990), Heavenly Art, Earthly Beauty: Art of Islam (Amsterdam, Nieuw Kerk; 1999–2000); Iran v Ermitazkhe: Formirovanie Kollektsii [Iran in the Hermitage: The Formation of the Collection] (St. Petersburg, Hermitage; ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. Vienna, 6 Nov. 1941; d. Berlin, 10 Jan. 1995).

German art historian, archaeologist and museum curator of Islamic art. Meinecke already developed an interest in Islamic art and architecture during his stay in Istanbul at an early age. He read art history, archaeology and Islamic studies in Vienna and Hamburg and completed his dissertation on the ceramic architectural decoration of Saljuq monuments in Anatolia in 1968. A year later he joined the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, where he undertook an architectural survey of historical buildings in the old city. His magna opus on the study of Mamluk architecture, which was accepted as Habilitationschrift by the University of Hamburg in 1978 and published in 1992, remains a standard in the field of Islamic architectural studies. After a short teaching period at the University of Hamburg between 1977 and 1980, he returned to the Middle East and became involved in the foundation of the German Archaeological Institute in Damascus. He left Syria in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

b Milan, Jan 16, 1881; d Rome, Nov 4, 1954).

Italian archaeologist, art historian and epigrapher. Descended from a French noble family from Burgundy that had moved to Piedmont at the time of the French Revolution, he trained as an architect and then taught medieval architecture at the Politecnico in Milan. His early writings (to 1920) were devoted mainly to the art and architecture of Italy, especially Lombardy; his interests then turned to the Christian and Islamic Orient. In 1923 he published a work on the sculpture at Ahnas (see Herakleopolis Magna [anc. Egyp. Henen-nesut; Copt. Ahnas; Arab. Ihnasya el-Medina]), in which he showed how Coptic art developed out of Hellenistic and Egyptian traditions. This was followed in 1930 by a monograph on the Islamic necropolis at Aswan, and archaeological research in Nubia led him to explain the political and cultural significance of that region in the medieval period. In 1934 he moved to Rome and, after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in ...

Article

Yuka Kadoi

(b. London, 17 Jan. 1919).

British art historian and archaeologist. After serving in the Indian Army, Pinder-Wilson read Persian and Arabic at Oxford, taking an MA in 1947. He joined the Oriental Department of the British Museum as Assistant Keeper in 1949 and was appointed Deputy Keeper in 1969. In 1976 he was appointed Director of the British Institute of Afghan Studies in Kabul. There he supervised preservation work, excavations and fieldwork and made major contributions to the field of Afghan studies. He participated in archaeological excavations at Harran and Siraf and was also an active member of the British Institute of Persian Studies for many years. After the British Institute in Kabul was closed in 1982 following the Soviet invasion, he returned to London and became involved in several research projects as a consultant. His expertise covers Islamic decorative arts from Persian painting to Islamic glass and rock crystal.

R. Pinder-Wilson: Persian Painting of the Fifteenth Century...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Phoenix, RI, Feb 7, 1881; d Warren, CT, Sept 3, 1969).

American art historian and archaeologist. He was educated at Brown and Cornell universities and taught at the University of California and Amherst College. In 1920 he married Phyllis Ackerman, who shared his scholarly interests in Persian art. By 1923 he was director of the San Francisco Museum. In 1925 he began research in Iran and from that year acted as art adviser to the Iranian government. From 1930 he was director of the American Institute for Iranian Art and Archaeology (subsequently renamed Iranian, then Asia, Institute and transferred to Pahlavi University of Shiraz). He lectured widely and organized various exhibitions and congresses of Persian art in the USA, Great Britain, and Russia. His greatest achievement was editing the multi-volume Survey of Persian Art. In 1939 he was chairman of the Committee for Chinese War Orphans and from 1940 to 1948 chairman of the Committee for National Morale. From 1960 he was president of the International Association of Iranian Art and Archaeology. In ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Berlin, June 22, 1865; d Neubabelsberg, June 1945).

German archaeologist, art historian and collector. He travelled to the Middle East and met Carl Humann, who was excavating Pergamon and advised Sarre to study the monuments of medieval Anatolia. In 1895 he visited Phrygia, Lycaonia and Pisidia and in 1896 went on a longer journey in Asia Minor. His principal aim was to discover architectural monuments and archaeological sites; he always travelled with a trained architect and became a talented photographer. He also collected epigraphic material which he sent to such Arabists as Bernhard Moritz, Eugen Mittwoch and Max van Berchem. In the years 1897 to 1900 Sarre travelled to Iran. Objects from his collection were exhibited in Berlin (1899) and at the Exposition des arts musulmans (Paris, 1903). In 1905 he met Ernst Herzfeld, and in 1907–8 they travelled together from Istanbul via Aleppo and Baghdad to the Gulf to find an Islamic site suitable for excavation. Their choice, which Herzfeld later described as Sarre’s, fell upon ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Niort, Jan 26, 1901; d Cambo, March 5, 1950).

French art historian, archaeologist and epigrapher of the Middle East. He was educated at the lycée of Niort and then went to Paris, where he studied Arabic at the Ecole des Langues Orientales and at the Sorbonne. In 1924 he joined the Institut Français at Damascus as a research fellow and in 1929 became its secretary general. He returned to Paris in 1937 as the director of Islamic history at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He also taught the history of Islamic art at the Ecole du Louvre, Arabic at the Sorbonne and, from 1942 to 1944, Syrian Arabic and the geography and history of the Middle East at the Ecole des Langues Orientales. In 1946 he was elected to the Collège de France. His doctoral thesis on the urban history of Aleppo, which was published in 1941, was one of his major works. It established his method of revealing the ‘silent web of Islamic history’ by combining a close study of such physical remains as buildings and inscriptions with a careful reading of historical sources. Although he regarded himself as an archaeologist, he never excavated, considering archaeology more a type of evidence than a methodological procedure. Following the Swiss epigrapher ...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Nadia Erzini

(b Vrigny-aux-Bois, Aug 8, 1895; d Grenoble, Oct 11, 1971).

French archaeologist, art historian and historian. After active service in World War I, he studied history and geography at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where one of his teachers was Emile Mâle. In 1921 Terrasse emigrated to the French protectorate of Morocco, where he taught first at the Collège Moulay Yusuf and later at the influential Institut des Hautes Etudes Marocaines in Rabat, lecturing on Islamic history and art. In 1932 he published his doctoral thesis for the Sorbonne, and in 1935 he was appointed inspector of historic monuments in Morocco. He became director of the Institut des Hautes Etudes Marocaines in 1941 and professor of Muslim archaeology at the University of Algiers in 1945. After Moroccan independence in 1956, he was director of the Casa de Velázquez in Madrid until his retirement in 1965. In addition to founding the Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, he published prolifically on western Islamic history, architecture, ceramics, metalwork, woodwork and jewellery, and wrote the first general history of Morocco. His interests also extended to Islamic art in the Middle East and the relationship between Christian and Islamic art. His work is sometimes characterized by misconceptions typical of the French colonial school of scholarship, such as the dichotomous interpretation of Moroccan history into Arab and Berber cultures. Nonetheless, his pioneering studies of the archaeology and architectural history of 11th- to 14th-century Morocco remain the foundation for most later art history of the region....

Article

Sheila R. Canby

( Kyrle )

(b London, Oct 13, 1897; d Sharon, CT, April 18, 1986).

American archaeologist, curator and collector . Trained as an artist at the Slade School, University College, London, in 1920 he joined the graphic section of the Egyptian Expedition to Thebes, organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. During the 1920s and 1930s Wilkinson painted facsimiles of Egyptian tomb paintings in the museum collection, and he joined museum excavations in the Kharga Oasis (Egypt) and Qasr-i Abu Nasr and Nishapur (Iran). Transferred to the curatorial staff of the museum in 1947, he became curator in 1956 of the new Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, which merged with the Department of Islamic Art in 1957. Through his energetic collaboration on major excavations at Hasanlu, Nimrud and Nippur, Wilkinson greatly expanded the Ancient Near Eastern collections at the Metropolitan Museum. After his retirement from the museum in 1963, he taught Islamic art at Columbia University and was Hagop Kevorkian Curator of Middle Eastern Art and Archaeology at the Brooklyn Museum, New York (...