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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

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

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

Barry Bergdoll

(b Marseille, Nov 26, 1787; d Marseille, Feb 8, 1879).

French architect and writer. The designer of many of the principal public buildings of Marseille, he also published the first accurate records of the Islamic monuments of Cairo, North Africa and the Middle East—a central interest of mid-19th-century architectural theorists and ornamentalists.

After studying both engineering and drawing in Marseille, Coste began his career in 1804 as site inspector and draughtsman for the Neo-classicist Michel-Robert Penchaud, a municipal and departmental architect, for whom he worked for a decade. In 1814, on the recommendation of the architects Percier & Fontaine, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the ateliers of Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer and Jean-Baptiste Labadye (1777–1850). An encounter in Paris with the geographer Jombert, who had been a member of the scientific mission that accompanied Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, was to influence his subsequent career. In 1817 Jombert recommended Coste to Muhammad ‛Ali, Khedive of Egypt (...

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

[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

(Robert)

(b Stockholm, May 8, 1868; d Cairo, April 13, 1933).

Swedish diplomat, scholar, collector and dealer. In 1884 he became assistant at the ethnographical museum in Stockholm, and by 1890 he was assistant at the archaeological museum. He combined his interests in ethnography and archaeology on a visit to Siberia (1891–2), publishing his findings in L’Age du bronze au Musée de Minoussinsk. He then turned to Islamic art, travelling widely and collecting in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Egypt and Turkey. He began to acquire Islamic book paintings at Bukhara in 1894 and in the following year sold 387 oriental manuscripts to the University Library at Uppsala. In the winter of 1896 he excavated at Fustat (Old Cairo), returning with several thousand ceramic fragments. In 1897 he exhibited his collection at Stockholm. About this time he formed the opinion that manuscripts had been the chief disseminators of ornamental motifs in the Islamic world. From 1903, when he was attached to the Swedish Embassy in Istanbul as dragoman, he acquired a number of precious manuscripts and albums, and he also probably formed in these years a collection of etchings of views of Istanbul, portraits of sultans and political pictures that went to Lund University. He published ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Arie, Aryeh]

(b. Stanislav [now Ivano-frankivsk, Ukraine], 12 Jan. 1895; d. Jerusalem, April 6, 1959).

Israeli historian of Islamic art. Born in a city that was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Mayer studied at the universities of Lausanne, Vienna and Berlin and received his Ph.D. at Vienna in 1917 for a thesis on town planning in Islam. A staunch Zionist, he emigrated to Palestine in 1921 where he served as inspector and then librarian in the Department of Antiquities for the Government of Palestine under the British Mandate. When Hebrew University, Jerusalem, was established in 1929, he was appointed lecturer in Islamic Art and Archaeology, and then in 1932 the first Sir David Sassoon Professor of Near Eastern Art and Archaeology. From 1935 to 1949 Mayer was the first local director and also dean and rector of the School of Oriental Studies.

Mayer was interested in many aspects of Islamic art, including coins and works from the Mamluk period. A fine Arabist, he wrote many articles on Arabic epigraphy for the ...

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 ...