Category Archives: Islamic Art

Sharin Neshat, Video still from Rapture, 1999, Photo via Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY. Sharin Neshat, Video still from Rapture, 1999, Photo via Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY.

An Open Invitation from Shirin Neshat

Born in Qazvin in Iran and educated in Berkeley, CA, Sharin Neshat creates images of the strong contrasts between Western and Islamic society as an invitation to open a dialog between the cultures. Neshat left Iran in 1975 to attend school and didn’t return … Continue reading

Vault and colored ceiling of the Iwan of an Imamzadeh at the tomb of Omar Khayyam, 1962, Photo by By dynamosquito via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Just a Second: Iwan

Iwan (noun) An iwan is a vaulted room open on one side, usually onto a courtyard in an Islamic mosque.  The iwan in Omar Khayyam’s tomb in Neishabour, Iran is decorated with characteristic Islamic geometric and vegetal motifs.

Madinat al-Zahara workshop, Al-Mughira’s pyxis, 968 CE, ivory, 5.9” high, Musée du Louvre, Paris, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Make the Time: The New Islamic Galleries at the Louvre

The Musée du Louvre recently opened the doors to their new 32,000 square foot gallery space filled with Islamic art.  It is the first big addition to the building since I. M. Pei’s glass pyramids were finished in 1993. Nearly … Continue reading

The Dome of the Rock, 688 and later, Jerusalem, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The Dome of the Rock

The focus of the Haram al-Sharif, or the Temple Mount, a religious sanctuary in Old Jerusalem that is sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, is the Dome of the Rock.   Built from 688-691 BCE by Caliph Abd al-Malik, it is … Continue reading

Shrine of Hazrat Ali, also know as the Blue Mosque, 15th century, Mazari Sharif, Afghanistan. Photo by Michal Hvorecky, Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

Just a Second: Horror Vacui

Horror vacui (noun) Fear or dislike of empty space in the visual arts.  Many accuse artists from the Ancient Egyptian era to Jackson Pollock of suffering from horror vacui.  The term frequently is used to describe Islamic art in which … Continue reading