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Event: Christian Art under Muslim Rule, NIT Istanbul, 11-12 May 2012‏

An international workshop at Netherlands Institute in Turkey; May 11/12, 2012.

Convener: Maximilian Hartmuth (<>)
For up-to-date information, please visit the institute’s website at<>.

In the vast expanse of lands in the Mediterranean and Near East that came under Muslim sway in and after the seventh century, the spread of Islam at the expense of Christianity was a more gradual process than is often acknowledged. While the status of Christians was indeed reduced to that of a tolerated minority, the production of religious art within such communities was not brought to a halt (as the silence about it in traditional art history might suggest). Rather, it simply continued under different precepts, and often very productively. While some examples, such as the art of Mozarabs and Copts, are better known, Christian artistic production in other Muslim contexts and in the period after the Mongol invasion is less explored. Moreover, there have been few attempts to integrate this body of art into mainstream art history.
The proposed workshop seeks to explore to what extent the fact that – irrespective of period and region – this art was produced under non-Christian rule can serve as a useful frame for analysis. It aims to do so by bringing together scholars working on different territories in the Islamic world between the seventh and nineteenth centuries to present and discuss case studies with a view to identifying common threads. What, for instance, do biblical scenes in Ayyubid metalwork sponsored by Muslim patrons or Islamic ornament in Christian manuscripts written and decorated in Mamluk and Ottoman realms tell us about the cultures and societies in which they were produced? Is the seventeenth-century Armenian cathedral at New Julfa an expression of relative tolerance in Safavid Iran, or should its singularity be identified as the key factor in its analysis? Are cases of new church construction in the Ottoman Balkans expressive of the assumed “pax ottomana,” or was permission-granting used by the sultans as currency in their dealings with peripheral populations? Lastly, did the fact of Muslim rule impact the iconographic features of Christian painting in these areas? The proposed workshop will provide a forum for the discussion of these questions and help to identify new questions to inform future research.

FRIDAY, May 11, 2012.
09:30-11:00 Session 1 (auditorium)
- Welcome address
- Keynote lecture by Machiel Kiel (Bonn): "Christian art in the Ottoman Balkans."
- Discussion

11:15-12:45 Session 2 (auditorium): Portable art
- Lilyana Stankova (Paris): "Tradition and innovation in the decorative practices in Christian art in the Balkans, 15-17th centuries."
- Luit Mols (The Hague): "Healing water contained: medieval pilgrim flasks in a Christian and Islamic setting."
- Sercan Yandim (Ankara): "Anatolian icons in the nineteenth century: style and iconography."
- Discussion

13:30-15:00 Session 3 (seminar room, 3rd floor): Border-crossings
- Bas Snelders (Leiden): "Mosul, Muslims, monks and martyrs: Christian art in medieval Mesopotamia."
- Dimitris Loupis (Athens): "Pseudo-Kufic in architectural decoration of Greece."
- Merih Danali (Istanbul): "Negotiating self-representation and cultural identity: artistic and cultural responses to the Byzantine-Ottoman encounter (ca. 1300-1453)"
- Discussion

SATURDAY, May 12, 2012.
09:30-11:00 Session 4 (seminar room): Iconography
- Mat Immerzeel (Leiden): "The revival of Christian art in Ottoman Egypt, Palestine and Syria."
- Tolga Uyar (Istanbul): "Christian art in Seljuk Anatolia: some thoughts on the iconography of Cappadocian wall paintings.
- Ivana Jevtic (Istanbul): "Speaking in the name of Christ? The image of antique philosophers in Post-Byzantine painting."
- Discussion

11:15- 12:45 Session 5 (seminar room): Architecture
- Maximilian Hartmuth (Istanbul): "The rebuilding of a Franciscan monastery in Ottoman Bosnia."
- Rossitsa Gradeva (Sofia): "The fate of Sofia's metropolitan church under Ottoman rule."
- Paolo Girardelli (Istanbul): “Contested seclusion: churches and urban context in a plural environment."
- Discussion
- Conclusion of the workshop