14 Thursday

The Islamic fascination with domes

Thu, March 14, 2024 (6:15 pm - 7:30 pm)
Room BS/005, Berrick Saul Building
University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom


This lecture will seek to account for the popularity of domes in Islamic architecture.

About this event

Islamic Art History Network Lecture

This lecture will seek to account for the popularity of domes in Islamic architecture. It will suggest some reasons why domes were so widespread from the early Islamic period up to modern times. That will involve a discussion of what functions they served – and here the architecture of death deserves special attention – and an investigation of both the impact of domes in other recent or contemporary cultures and also the role of domes of more distant ancestry. These topics will also touch on the kind of symbolism that they could wield. The nature of their construction, whether they employed the pendentive or the squinch and an increasingly elaborate zone of transition, is also of crucial importance. They could work as an expression of royal power but also, in combination with a minaret, as a perennial marker of Islam, and whether they were large or small they retained the key ability to define and expand space. Finally, the lecture will focus on how domes were built and decorated, the forms they took, the challenges they posed and the materials and techniques used in their construction.

About the speaker

Professor Robert Hillenbrand taught at the University of Edinburgh for 36 years and has published more than 160 articles and nine books on art and archaeology. He is actively engaged in research projects in Persian painting, Islamic iconography and Islamic architecture, notably of Syria and Iran. His travels have taken him throughout the Islamic world and he has held visiting professorships at Princeton, UCLA, Bamberg, Dartmouth College and Groningen. He has also served on the Councils of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, British Research in the Levant, and the British Institute of Persian Studies.

His books include Imperial Images in Persian Painting, Islamic Architecture in North Africa (co-author), Islamic Art and Architecture, The Architecture of Ottoman Jerusalem and the prize-winning Islamic Architecture: Form, Function and Meaning. He was also Islamic art adviser to the 36-volume Macmillan Dictionary of Art. He has served on the editorial boards of Art History, Persica, Assaph, Islamic Art and the David Collection, Bulletin of the Asia Institute and Studies in Islamic Art and Architecture and Oxford Studies in Islamic Art. He has organised nine international symposia at Edinburgh and in 1977 he curated one of the largest exhibitions of Persian miniature painting ever held.

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Thursday, March 14, 2024

6:15 pm - 7:30 pm  

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