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Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan

(b Tehran, March 9, 1939).

Iranian architect, urban planner and writer. He studied architecture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh (BA, 1961) and at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (March, 1962). He worked in several firms in the USA, including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, before returning to Iran to work for the National Iranian Oil Company (1964–6). In 1966 he became Design Partner for Iran’s largest archictectural firm, Abdul Aziz Farman Farmaian & Associates, in Tehran, and in 1972 he set up his own practice in Tehran, the Mandala Collaborative. Ardalan, whose work ranges from private residences to master plans for new towns, is one of the most important architects to emerge from Iran in the recent past. His work reflects his particular concern for cultural and ecological aspects of architecture; in Iran it is strongly rooted in an understanding of the traditions and forms of Iranian Islam, although his buildings are in a totally contemporary idiom. Perhaps his best-known work is the Iran Centre for Management Studies (...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(Walker)

(b Devonport, April 19, 1864; d London, June 9, 1930).

English Orientalist and historian of Islamic painting. He was attracted to Oriental studies while reading classics at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was inspired by Edward Cowell and William Robertson Smith. From 1888 he taught philosophy at the Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, India. With the appearance of his Preaching of Islam (1896), an account of the spread of Islam, he achieved high academic acclaim and in 1898 became professor of philosophy in the Indian Educational Service, teaching at Government College, Lahore. He returned to London in 1904 to become assistant librarian at the India Office Library, where he studied illustrated manuscripts and made significant purchases. He also taught Arabic at University College. In 1909 he was appointed Educational Adviser for Indian Students in Britain and after 1917, as secretary to the Secretary of State, was responsible for Indian students. When he retired from the India Office in 1920...

Article

Lale H. Uluç

(b Istanbul, 1875; d 1971).

Turkish art historian . The son of the grand vizier Ahmed Esad Pasha (1828–75), he was forced in 1891 to follow family tradition and enrol at the Military Academy rather than at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul as he desired. Nevertheless, he pursued his artistic interests among a group of military artists and resigned shortly after he was graduated. He then travelled extensively, researching and writing about Turkish art until 1912, when he became a civil servant. In 1920 he started teaching municipal administration, town planning and architectural history at the Academy of Fine Arts. A highly versatile intellectual, he was also an administrator, academician, editor, film director, musician, painter, photographer, novelist and translator. He wrote about the functioning of municipalities, urbanism, the history of Istanbul, modern architecture, the history of Turkish art and music, photography, painting techniques and librarianship, as well as his memoirs, a dictionary and an encyclopedia of art. His most significant contribution to the history of culture was his effort to establish Turkish art as distinct from Islamic art....

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Istanbul, June 11, 1938).

American historian of Islamic art. Atıl earned her PhD at the University of Michigan, with a dissertation on an illustrated Ottoman Book of Festivals. In 1970 she was appointed Curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, a post that she held for 15 years. An extraordinarily energetic and prolific curator, she organized many notable exhibitions based on the Freer collection as well as traveling exhibitions of Mamluk art, the age of Süleyman the Magnificent, and of the Kuwait collection of Islamic art. Between 1985 and 1987, Dr. Atıl was Guest Curator at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. With the opening of the Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in 1987, she was appointed Historian of Islamic Art at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, a position she held until her retirement in 1993.

E. Atıl: 2500 Years of Persian Art (Washington, DC, 1971)E. Atıl...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Berlin, 20 Feb. 1920).

Israeli historian of Islamic art. Forced to emigrate from Nazi Germany in 1938, Baer spent the years of World War II in Palestine. She received her B.A. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and met and married Gabriel Baer (1919–82), an historian of modern Egypt. She earned her Ph.D. in 1965 from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She then returned to Jerusalem, where she served as Curator of the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art. In 1970 she began teaching at Tel Aviv University, from which she retired as professor in 1987. Baer lectured and taught at museums and universities throughout Europe and the USA. Her major publications focused on the history of Islamic metalwork and the iconography of Islamic art.

E. Baer: Sphinxes and Harpies in Medieval Islamic Art: An Iconographical Study (Jerusalem, 1965)E. Baer: Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art...

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

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Hamadan, 1906; d. Tehran, 1968).

Iranian librarian and scholar of Persian manuscripts. Bayani spent his early career as a teacher of Persian language and literature and as head of the public library of the Ministry of Education. He then directed the transferral of this library to the new National Library, which he founded and directed. He received his doctorate from Tehran University in 1945 and became head of the Royal Library in 1956, a post he held until his death. He also taught courses on the evolution of Persian scripts and codicology and founded a society for the support of calligraphers and the calligraphic arts. His biographical dictionary of Iranian calligraphers, Aḥwāl u āthār-i khushnivisān [Accounts and works of calligraphers] remains an invaluable research tool.

M. Bayani: Fihrist-i khaṭūṭ-i khwaṣ-i Kitābkhāna-yi Millī [Catalog of the special manuscripts in the National Library] (Tehran, 1949)M. Bayani with M. Bahrami: Rāhnamā-yi ganjīna-yi Qur‛ān [Guide to the Collection of Koran manuscripts...

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

(b Istanbul, March 22, 1904; d Istanbul, 1982).

Turkish painter, teacher and writer. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul in 1924 and then worked under Ernest Laurent at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. On returning to Turkey in 1928 he was a founder-member of the Association of Independent Painters and Sculptors (Müstakil ressamlar ve heykeltraşlar birliği). He went to Paris again in 1932 and studied under André Lhote and Fernand Léger, the influence of the latter being particularly important. A characteristic example of his style at this time is Still-life with Playing Cards (1933; Istanbul, Mimar Sunan U., Mus. Ptg & Sculp.). Returning to Turkey in 1933, he was a founder-member and the principal spokesman of the D Group (D Grubu), whose aim was to encourage contemporary European artistic ideas in Turkey. He later became an influential teacher at the Fine Arts Academy, Istanbul, and Director of the Museum of Painting and Sculpture, Istanbul. His ability to combine his work as a writer, teacher and painter made him an important figure for modern Turkish art. He helped to organize international exhibitions of Turkish art and, along with the Turkish art scholar ...

Article

(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

Article

(b Antalya, 1922).

Turkish architect and writer. He studied architecture at the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul. As a student of Sedad Hakkı Eldem, and later as his teaching assistant, he was influenced by Eldem’s ideas on the nature of national architecture. Cansever began his career working in urban planning in Istanbul. During the 1950s, however, he began to attract attention with buildings and designs that incorporated new technology and materials but also referred to the past. His Karatepe Museum (1954–61) near Adana, for example, had slab roofs of poured concrete, but the open porches and corner windows refer to historical and regional architectural traditions. He adopted this approach for other buildings, including the Anadolu Club (1959; with Abdurrahman Hancı) at Büyükada, Istanbul, which combines a traditional T-plan with a meticulous treatment of details, particularly the windows; a block of flats in Çiftehavuzlar, Istanbul; and the partly realized Terakki Foundation School in Istanbul. This approach also inspired the ...

Article

(b London, Sept 13, 1879; d Acton, April 8, 1974).

English historian of Islamic architecture. Born in modest circumstances, Creswell attended Westminster School, where he was active in science and mathematics, and the City and Guilds Technical College at Finsbury, where he studied electrical engineering. He became fascinated with the Orient and specifically the Islamic world, gathering systematic notes on every known monument. In 1913 and 1914 his first publications dealt with domes in Iran, concentrating on their ‘origin’ and ‘evolution’, two terms that became essential concerns of his later work. He applied for a job in the Archaeological Survey of India, but World War I intervened, and he went to Egypt in April 1916 as a member of the Royal Flying Corps. In July 1919 he was appointed Inspector of Monuments in the area (occupied by the British Army) that had formerly been Ottoman territory. With the forceful energy that stayed with him until his early nineties, he traversed Syria and Palestine, measuring buildings, recording their condition and photographing them. Out of his Syrian experience, Creswell made plans for a history of the Muslim architecture of Egypt, and after his demobilization found a patron in Fuاad I (...

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

Lale H. Uluç

(b Istanbul, ?June 24, 1861; d Istanbul, Nov 16, 1938).

Turkish museum director and historian. He was the youngest son of the grand vizier Ibrahim Edhem Pasha (?1818–93), who was one of the first Ottomans to be educated in Europe. His elder brother was the painter Osman Hamdi. Halil Edhem was schooled in Berlin, Zurich, Vienna and Berne, where he received his doctorate in natural sciences and chemistry. He also studied history and archaeology on his own initiative and spoke French, German, Turkish, Arabic and Persian. On his return to Istanbul in 1885, he became a civil servant and taught natural sciences in several schools as a volunteer. In 1892 he became vice-director of the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul and in 1910 on the death of the former director, his brother Osman Hamdi, he was promoted to director. Both the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Topkapı Palace Museum were opened to the public during his tenure. He organized the ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Hamburg, Sept 9, 1901; d Berlin, Sept 30, 1964).

German historian of Islamic art. After taking his doctorate under Erwin Panofsky, he entered the Islamic department of the Staatliche Museum, Berlin. From 1930 he dedicated himself entirely to Islamic art, although he returned occasionally to the theme of its reception in Europe. In 1938 he became guest professor at Fu’ad I University, Cairo; after World War II he lectured at Hamburg, and in 1949 he was guest professor at Bonn. In the tradition of Julius von Lessing, Wilhelm Bode and Friedrich Sarre, Erdmann was a dominant figure in Islamic carpet scholarship. He occupied the chair of Islamic art at Istanbul University from 1951 to 1958, although his inability to gain access to the carpet stores in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art inclined his attention to other aspects of Turkish art, especially Anatolian architecture. In 1958 he returned to Berlin to become director of the Islamic department of the ...

Article

Eleanor Sims

(b Frankfurt am Main, Feb 5, 1906; d Princeton, NJ, April 2, 1979).

American curator and art historian of German birth. He received his PhD in Arabic from the University of Frankfurt in 1931 with a dissertation on Koranic references to anti-paganism. His first position (1931–3) was as assistant to Ernst Kühnel in the Islamic Department of the Berlin Museum. In 1933 he left Germany to study for a year in London and then moved to the United States. As a research associate with the American Institute of Persian Art and Archaeology, he worked as an author and editor for A Survey of Persian Art; much of his later research focused on the arts of Iran. He taught at the University of Michigan (1938–44) and then moved to the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he was Associate in Near Eastern Art (1944–58), Curator (1958–61) and Head Curator (1961–7). The Freer collection of Near Eastern Art, both Islamic and pre-Islamic, and many other collections of Islamic art were shaped by his eye and his advice. He was a consultant for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem and was Consultative Chairman of the Islamic Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Zagazig, Dec 20, 1906; d Cairo, Feb 21, 1963).

Egyptian historian, sociologist, playwright, literary critic, linguist and art historian. He attended secondary school at the Jesuit Collège de la Sainte-Famille, Cairo, and then pursued his higher education under Ahmad Zaki Pasha in Cairo and at the Sorbonne in Paris under the Orientalists Louis Massignon and Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes. In 1932 he completed two doctoral theses on pre-Islamic Arabia, one on the concept of honour, the other on the nature of linguistic exposition. He travelled widely in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey, and in the 1940s began to dedicate more time to writing plays, short stories and literary criticism. He was also editor of the literary journal Al-Muqtaṭaf and researched Egyptian folklore. From 1948 he was consultant to the Egyptian delegation to UNESCO and from 1958 secretary-general of the French Institut d’Egypte. From 1942 he wrote about Islamic art, especially illustrated manuscripts of the 12th to the 14th century from Iraq and Syria, from the point of view of aesthetics and Christian and Muslim iconography. He also wrote about the lawfulness of painting in Islam. He discovered several important Arabic manuscripts with illustrations, and his interpretation of Arab painting was enriched by his extensive knowledge of history and literature. He published academic works and drama in French and Arabic and was one of the first Arab historians to write about Islamic art. He also supported modern art movements, publishing an open letter to the Soviet president Khrushchev in ...