Islamic Art

Walter Denny

in Islamic Studies

ISBN: 9780195390155
Published online December 2010 | | DOI:
Islamic Art


The term “Islamic Art,” as conventionally used today in the organization of museum departments and the delineation of academic boundaries in higher education, usually refers to works of architecture and visual arts created in cultures in which the Islamic political and cultural component is dominant. The term may also encompass works of art created by Muslim artists and artisans in other cultures (for example, Mudejar art, the art of Muslims working for Christian patrons in Spain). Generally, the dominant characterizing variable of the visual arts is the language of style, as opposed to the variables of artists’ or patrons’ ethnicity, religion, or spoken language. Thus the assessment of art-historical bibliography necessarily involves both text and illustrations. In the second half of the 20th century the academic study of Islamic art developed the methodology, the chronological framework, and the parameters of regional study that today characterize the field and its publications. The emergence of 35-millimeter color slide film suitable for academic classroom instruction, of more economical means of publishing illustrations in color, and more recently of online visual resources in electronic form, have had an enormous impact on both the study and the publication of the history of art in general, and on the history of Islamic art in particular. The representative works selected from thousands for inclusion here have been assessed in terms of quality of scholarship, accessibility, quality of illustrations, and proven usefulness to undergraduate students in classes over forty years.

Article.  8816 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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