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Study of Muslim Arts: a ‘Western creation’

Articles

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Keywords
Triple Keywords
Islamic arts
Arts, Islamic
Muslim arts
Western art (Western countries)
Arts, Fine
Fine arts
Iconography
Art, Visual
Arts, Visual
Occidental art
Visual arts
Art
Art, Occidental
Art, Western (Western countries)
Annals
History
Representation
Political representation
Self-government
Representative government and representation
Parliamentary government
Arts, Occidental
Arts
Arts, Western
Visions
Literature and painting
Painting and literature
Art and literature
Sculpture and literature
Literature and art
Literature and sculpture
Participation
Literature
World literature
Western literature (Western countries)
Belles-lettres

Abstract

As Oleg Grabar pointed out, ‘the study of Muslim arts is [...] a western creation of the European nineteenth century.’ We would like to illustrate this by focusing on a few constitutive interpretations of such a ‘creation’, particularly in France, at a time when the first exhibitions, from 1867 onwards, are developing an interest in ‘Eastern art’. The narrative depends on a visual culture calling for a variety of references to the history of Western art, the proximity of which is sought, for example, in the study of Venetian affiliations or in the question of figurative representation, which provokes different debates. The study of the arts of Islam was also based on a certain vision of the East, enriched by contemporary literature and painting, which referred to both the history of the cruads, the Eastern despotism and the Mille and Le Nuits. The limits of these interpretations, which combine proximity and remoteness, do not escape those who, from the end of the 19th century, called for greater participation by Muslim connaisers.

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