What are Study Days?

In these exceptional times (Covid) we have changed the format of our Study Days.

For now, these will be run as a Zoom Webinar and will consist of two 45-minute lectures with time for questions and a coffee break of 15 and 30 mins between the two lectures.

The Study day will start at 10am and finishing around 12.30pm.

The cost will be £8 to be paid after the event.

Details on how to join the zoom meeting and how to pay for the event will be send out before each Study Day

The next Study Day: Wednesday 29 September 2021

The Riches of Islamic Art and Architecture

Lecturer is Professor James Allan.
Now retired, but was curator of the Islamic collection and Keeper of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, where he also set up an inter-faith exhibition service and taught Islamic art and architecture. Leads tours in the Middle East and has published numerous articles and books on Islamic art, the most recent being, ‘The art and architecture of Twelver Shi’ism: Iraq, Iran and the Indian Subcontinent’.

The two lectures will explore Islamic art and design. The first will consider the elements of Arabic script, styles of calligraphy and the role of calligraphy in the cultural identity of the present day Middle East. The second will illustrate how geometry and the arabesque combine to form satisfying designs and explore the figural side of Islamic art which is surprisingly widespread even in religious settings

Session 1 – Islamic Art and Design : Arabic calligraphy 
Islamic art is outstanding for its serenity, its elegance, and its beauty. This and the following lecture introduce Islamic art through its three most widely appreciated strands. In the first lecture we shall look at the art of Arabic calligraphy, the supreme art of the Islamic world. Don’t worry, you do not have to know Arabic to enjoy it and appreciate its beauty! The lecture will teach the basic elements of the Arabic script, and illustrate many of the styles of calligraphy which developed in different parts of the Islamic world. It will then look at the role of Arabic calligraphy in the cultural identity of the contemporary Middle East, and its increasing political significance.Session 2 – Islamic Art and Design: the Arabesque, Geometry, and Figural Art
In the second of the two lectures we shall look at geometry and the arabesque, following the latter into the range of floral designs current in later Islamic art. We shall see too how geometry and the arabesque combine to make highly intricate, but deeply satisfying, designs in a range of media. There is another element to Islamic art, however, figural art. It is mistakenly believed, both by Muslims and non-Muslims, that Islamic art is non-representational. We shall explore Islamic art’s figural side, and show how widespread figural art really is, even, most surprisingly, in some religious settings.

Previous Study Days

To read about our previous study days click here

How do I contact the organisers?

Study Days are organised by Mark Gardiner and Julia Reece. If you would like any more general information, please email them at tasoxford@gmail.com