The Formation of Islamic Art

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Revised and Enlarged Edition

Oleg Grabar

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This classic work on the nature of early Islamic art has now been brought up to date in order to take into consideration material that has recently come to light. In a new chapter, Oleg Grabar develops alternate models for the formation of Islamic art, tightens its chronology, and discusses its implications for the contemporary art of the Muslim world.

Reviews of the first edition:
“Grabar examines the possible ramifications of sociological, economic, historical, psychological, ecological, and archaeological influences upon the art of Islam. . . [He] explains that Islamic art is woven from the threads of an Eastern, Oriental tradition and the hardy, surviving strands of Classical style, and [he] illustrates this web by means of a variety of convincing and well-chosen examples.”—Art Bulletin

“A book of absorbing interest and immense erudition. . . All Islamic archaeologists and scholars will thank Professor Grabar for a profound and original study of an immense and complex field, which may provoke controversy but must impress by its mastery and charm by its modesty.”—Times Literary Supplement

“Oleg Grabar, in this book of exceptional subtlety and taste, surveys and extends his own important contributions to the study of early Islamic art history and works out an original and imaginative approach to the elusive and complex problems of understanding Islamic art.”—American Historical Review

Oleg Grabar is professor of fine arts at Harvard and has served as director of the American School of Oriental Research and director of the Michigan-Harvard excavations in Syria.

"Grabar examines the possible ramifications of sociological, economic, historical, psychological, ecological, and archaeological influences upon the art of Islam. . . . [He] explains that Islamic art is woven from the threads of an Eastern, Oriental tradition and the hardy, surviving strands of Classical style, and [he] illustrates this web by means of a variety of convincing and well-chosen examples."—Art Bulletin (on the first edition)
 
 
 
 

"A book of absorbing interest and immense erudition. . . . All Islamic archaeologists and scholars will thank Professor Grabar for a profound and original study of an immense and complex field, which may provoke controversy but must impress by its mastery and charm by its modesty."—Times Literary Supplement (on the first edition)

"Oleg Grabar, in this book of exceptional subtlety and taste, surveys and extends his own important contributions to the study of early Islamic art history and works out an original and imaginative approach to the elusive and complex problems of understanding Islamic art."—American Historical Review (on the first edition)

"The book is extremely well organized. . . . One would hope that this brilliant and deeply provoking study will find a truly responsive audience; that it will stimulate a true and fruitful discussion, especially of the problems alluded to and taken up in part in the last chapter of the book, and brought to a point of new departure in the final summary of the study."—Journal of the American Oriental Society

"This is a fine and learned book. . . . It is a doorway to a vision of a world, a way of thought profoundly different from our own."—Washington Post

"Grabar has focused on the period from the mid-7th century through the 9th century, when the Arab people, with their new Islamic faith, founded a civilization. . . . [He] explores the complex interrelationship between the new faith, its needs, the ecology of the artistic situation, and the defining characteristics of this still problematic style."—Library Journal

"It is a work of high distinction and major educational importance. The author has done a splendid analytical job in isolating the gradual emergence of uniquely Muslim characteristics during these early centuries. The book, I believe, will be indispensible to any course on Islamic Art above the survey level."—H.W. Janson

"All Islamic archaeologists and scholars will thank Professor Grabar for a profound and original study of an immense and comples field, which may provoke controversy but must impress by its mastery and charm.—Times Literary Supplement
ISBN: 9780300040463
Publication Date: September 10, 1987
336 pages, 7 x 10
131 b/w illus.
Islamic Art and Architecture, 650–1250

Second Edition

Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madi

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