In this edition of Imagining Islamic Aesthetics I would like to put to your interest a rather sensitive, in a way, topic – Islamic Art Influences to Other Cultures, in particular Christian and in some extent, Jewish art.
Now I wouldn’t like to offend anyone with this posting or the postings that will follow, but I would like to point out one of the common ground Islam share with other cultures and religion that is aesthetic value. In a general sense, Each and every culture in this world influence each other in a way or another, be it artistic, in language, literature, philosophy, or even theology and beliefs. It is only up to us to accept the fact and open up our minds to this reality.
With that said, let us move on with this topic, and let us look on some of the aesthetic influences other cultures had taken and assimilated into their own. More detail study should follow suit very soon.
The interior of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen, a part of Charlemagne’s Palace. Here you can see the mosaic work and the arches. The two alternating bands of colour for the arches echoes of that in La Mezquita, Spain. Caroligian architecture generally took their influences from multiple cultures, including Roman, Byzantine and Islamic aesthetics.
A corner of the Doge’s Palace. The arches are an apparent influence from Islamic architecture. Islamic arches influenced Gothic and generally European architecture, when it was introduced in Andalusia (La Mezquita, Alhambra), trades between the two cultures (Islamic and European) during the Crusades or perhaps relationships with the Ottoman empire.
Detail of the Adoration of the Magi, done in 1423 by Gentile da Fabriano showing the Virgin Mary. Note the details on the Virgin’s halo : it is referred to as Pseudo-kufic, since it is influenced by the Arabic (and hence, Islamic) script, though it lacks of any proper meaning or usage of actual language.
Verrocchio’s Madonna with Saint John the Baptist and Donatus 1475-1483. Here is another painting of the Virgin Mary, and the influence of Islam here is the carpet – Oriental carpet to be exact. At that time, these carpets are highly valued and sought after, and its beauty are often represented in paintings of secular or religious nature.
Christian and Muslim playing chess in al-Andalus, from The Book of Games of Alfonso X, el Sabio, c. 1285. Islam and the Arab world did not just influenced the Western civilization or the European world merely in artistic and aesthetics, but it also influenced and contributed to many fields – Agriculture, Music, Education, Law, Technology etc. It is a generally agreed fact that Islamic Civilization contributed many things to the Western world, and paved the way towards the Renaissance i n Europe.