It does not just pertain to religious art but
also artwork from Muslim ruled territories
or art produced by Muslims.
The art style varied within dynasties but tend
to all focus on surface decoration.
BYZANTINE ART (527-726)
The term Byzantine art is commonly used to
describe the artistic products of the Byzantine
Empire from about the 5th century until the fall
of the Constantinople in 1453.
Also used to refer to the art of Eastern Orthodox
states which were contemporary with the
Byzantine Empire and were actually influenced
by it, without actually being part of it, such as
Bulgaria, Serbia or Rus and also for the art of
the Republic of Venice and kingdom of Sicily,
which had close ties to Byzantine Empire despite
being in the other part of western European
In 324 Constantine 1 founded the city
Constantinople on the site of the
Ancient city of Byzantium to serve as
the new capital of the Roman Empire.
COMPONENTS OF ISLAMIC ART
The four basic
Islamic art areCalligraphy
Characteristics of Byzantine art
Flattened, symbolic, (heavenly) space (gold backgrounds
Shapes and figures show continuing trend toward shallow space
Details are described by line, not light and shade
Dematerialized bodies with strong emphasis on the eyes
Ornate haloes (fr. Persia - designating descent from the Sun)
Narrative is created by flat, symbolic shapes, lined up
Calligraphy is the most
highly regarded and
element of Islamic art. It
is significant that the
Qur’an, the book of God’s
transmitted in Arabic,
and that inherent within
the Arabic script is the
potential for developing
a variety of ornamental
There are over 100 styles
of Arabic calligraphy.
But only 6 are primary
Names are based onwidth of pen, usage,
curvature of style, place
of development or the
name of creator.
A major application of
Arabic calligraphy is in
inscription provideo Place identity and
o Historical information
o Spiritual verses
Arabic lettering has achieved a high
level of sophistication, and
Arabic scripts can vary from
flowing cursive styles like Naskh
and Thuluth to the angular Kufi.
On a traditional Islamic building,
a number of different writing
styles may appear on, for
example, the walls, windows, or
minarets. Most of the
inscriptions are not only from the
Qur'an but also the Hadith (the
Prophet's words) and are in
harmony with the religious
purposes of the building. An
inscription can give meaning to
the building by clarifying its
A close-up of a section of a page of a
large format 16th century Shirazi
(Iranian) Quran: note the loving
detail of what is essentially barely
visible “background”. Gold “ink” was
added in a number of washes with
different colors and transparency.
An 18th century Ottoman
two parallel texts, each in a
This is an end-piece of 16th
century Shirazi Quran,
inscribed — crosswordpuzzle-like — with the 99
names of God:
Arabic calligraphy is a symbol representing power and beauty. Its history is the
integration of artistry and scholarship. Through the abstract beauty of the lines,
energy flows in between the letters and words. All the parts are integrated into a
whole. These parts include positive spacing, negative spacing, and the flow of energy
that weaves together the calligrapher's rendering. The abstract beauty of Arabic
calligraphy is not always easily comprehended -- but this beauty will slowly reveal
itself to the discerning eye.
Arabic calligraphy is not merely an art form but involves divine and moral
representations -- from which calligraphy acquires its sublime reputation.
In the Byzantine period, a building’s interior decoration often took the form of
Mosaic tiles were more costly than materials for traditional painting,
demonstrating the wealth of the Byzantine empire.
San Vitale Basilica, Ravenna, Italy
San Vitale is a small
domed church in the
style. It has an
octagonal plan, with a
enclosing a central
space beneath a great
cupola. Attached at an
angle to the west side is
an entrance porch or
narthex while a small
choir and apse extends
to the east.
San Vitale Basilica, Ravenna, Italy
The great cupola is decorated
with uninteresting 18thcentury murals, but the
remainder of the interior is
fully Byzantine and provides
an authentic atmosphere of
antiquity. And most famously,
the ceilings of the choir and
apse glitter with
mosaics in green and gold.
Mashrabiya – projecting
window enclosed with
carved wood lattice work
Sahn – a courtyard combine with
Mihrab – a semicircular niche in
thwe wall of a mosque that
indicates the Qibla,
Mosque architectural features
THE BLUE MOSQUE
The construction of the mosque began in 1609 when Ahmed I the Sultan was only 19 years old.
The constructor of the mosque was the architect Mehmet Aga. He was building this masterpiece
of Muslim architecture for seven years. In 1616 the mosque was finished. It officially became
known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, but people gave it another name: "Blue Mosque" because of the fact that the interior of the temple is decorated with blue tiles. There are more
than two hundred thousand of tiles covering the walls of the mosque like a dense carpet.
The mosque was deliberately built next to the church of St. Sophia to demonstrate the ability of
the Ottoman and Islamic architects and builders to compete with any construction of their
Christian predecessors. Thus, the two buildings form a unique historical and architectural
The block of the "Blue Mosque" in Istanbul is quite traditional for Muslim architecture.
Undoubtedly, a model for the construction of the temple was the Hagia Sophia: this is
evidenced by the growing upward cascade of domes which reminds of a similar technique
employed by the builders of the Byzantine temple. The large central dome is surrounded by four
little domes, and under them there are four smaller domes. The number of minarets is quite
unusual - there are six of them: four tall minarets usually stand at the corners of the fence and
two lower minarets - on the outer corners of the inner courtyard.
The "Blue Mosque" is the world's only mosque with six minarets.
Architectural features of the famous Blue Mosque
Madarsa at Mosque of Sultan Hassan (Cairo, Egypt)
The building becomes a mosque and religious
school for all four juristic branches of sunni Islam.
Mosque of Sultan Hassan represent a great
Mamluk architecture monument in Cairo.
Verse from Quran in elegant Kufic and Thuluth
scripts adorn the wall.
Bath houses have played an important ritual role
in Islam since the earliest times, as
cleanliness is an essential prerequisite of
religious activities. "Minor ablutions" must
be performed before each of the five daily
prayers, and "major ablutions" are de rigeur
after disease and other defilements. The
Hammam thus came to serve a pivotal role in
the daily lives of Iranian Muslims. As both
men and women gathered there daily (at
separate times), it became a space of social
gathering as well. Services rendered there
might also include massages and hair cuts,
including full-body depilation for women to
comply with Islamic hygienic practice.
Most hammams were located in densely
populated areas near the local bazaar. Often
they were constructed on the grounds of
madrasas or hospitals supported by a waqf
(endowment for financing religious
institutions). In present times, the use of
hammam has fallen off markedly as indoor
plumbing became widely available.
These patterns exemplify
the Islamic interest in
continuous generation of
The integration of
geometry with such
optical effects as the
balancing of positive
and negative areas, a
skillful use of colour and
Arabesque – Arabesque designs are biomorphic, floral patterns representing the
Underlying order and unity of nature with a great deal of accuracy . Flowers and
Trees might be used as the motifs for decorations.
HAGIA SOPHIA, ISTANBUL, TURKEY The Church of the
Holy Wisdom, known
as Hagia Sophia in
Greek,Sancta Sophia in
and Ayasofya or Aya
Sofya in Turkish, is a
former Byzantine church
and former Ottoman
mosque in Istanbul. Now
a museum, Hagia Sophia
acknowledged as one of
the great buildings of the
Unfortunately nothing remains of the
original Hagia Sophia, which was
built on this site in the fourth century
by Constantine the Great.
Constantine was the first Christian
emperor and the founder of the city
of Constantinople, which he called
"the New Rome."
Following the destruction of Constantine's church, a second was built by his
son Constantius and the emperor Theodosius the Great. This second church
was burned down during the Nika riots of 532, though fragments of it have
been excavated and can be seen today.
Hagia Sophia was rebuilt in her present form between 532 and 537 under the
personal supervision of Emperor Justinian I.
The Hagia Sophia has a classical basilica plan. The main ground plan of the
building is a rectangle, 230 feet (70 m) in width and 246 feet (75 m) in
length. The area is covered by a central dome with a diameter of 102 feet
(31 m), which is just slightly smaller than that of the Pantheon in Rome.
The main dome is carried
on pendentives: four concave
triangular sections of masonry which
solve the problem of setting the
circular base of a dome on a
rectangular base. Each pendentive is
decorated with a seraphim. The
weight of the dome passes through
the pendentives to four massive
piers at the corners, and between
them the dome seems to float upon
four great arches.
All interior surfaces are
polychrome marble, green and
white with purple porphyry,
and gold mosaics. On the
exterior, simple stuccoed walls
reveal the clarity of massed
vaults and domes.
The Islamic calligraphic
roundels suspended from the
main dome since the 19th
century remain in place and
make for a fascinating religious
contrast with the uncovered
The Byzantine mosaics are being gradually uncovered, but only those on the
higher gallery levels. The best-known mosaic is called the Deësis Mosaic,
and it is the first you come to as you enter the South Gallery through
the Marble Door. It depicts a triumphant and kingly Christ (known as
"Christ Pantrocrator"), flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist.
•During the 9th century,
religions icons became an
important part of the Eastern
•Become very symbolic, using
•Icons used as objects of
•Icons become more and more
abstract and stylized