In this paper, we take a critical review of the manner in which European art was influenced by Islamic art. In the course of the middle ages, decorative arts of Islamic origin were among the most valued imports in Europe. In those ancient times, textiles were mostly used as hangings, church vestments, and clothing for the elite. In this era, decoration was basically ornamental.
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The most commonly used decoration techniques included mosaics, porphyry, and bronze foundries, among others. The European-made decorations could not outsmart those produced by Islamic nations until the end of the middle ages. Luxury textiles formed a greater part of clothing production. In addition, they were also used as shrouds when burying prominent individuals within the society (Brend, 1991).
The blending of Islamic art with European art brought about various transformations in the field of art. For instance, the Byzantine silk was greatly affected by the Sassanian textiles. On the other hand, the Islamic silk was affected by both the Byzantine and Sassanian textiles.
Most of the clothing worn by Islamic individuals was a symbol of their religious background. This assertion can be confirmed by the Venetian paintings. Within these paintings, Mamluk, Palestinian, Syrian, and Egyptian personages are featured in the description of various biblical situations.
In the final years of 15th C, the Venice ornament was developed. Even though the ornament was designed in a European style, it borrowed a lot from the original Islamic arabesque (Mack, 2001). Arabesque which was also termed as Moresque is considered to have a complicated history.
It was widely used in the decorative arts field in diverse ways. Even though it was initially utilized in the decoration of clothing, it is especially applied in book design and book binding.
The integration of Islamic arts within the decorative art in clothing production resulted in a number of advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it led to the production of beautiful textiles. Consequently, beautiful clothing could now be marketed for various uses. Both the secular and religious world could use the clothing on various occasions.
Moreover, designs that emerged from the integration of both of these arts could not be achieved by one of them single handedly. It is important to note that Islamic ornaments acted as a spice up to the European decorative art (Grabar, 2006). Either way, it is not only the European decorative arts which were affected by Islamic art; the European art has had some bit of influence on the Islamic art.
However, the Islamic art was not influenced with regard to clothing production. It was mainly influenced in the metalwork field. The zoomorphic jugs were referred to as aquamanile were initially introduced in Islamic world due to the European influence. In addition, the bronze mortar was also introduced under the same situation.
The application of Islamic decorative in the European clothing production is also associated with several disadvantages. To start with, the decoration materials were not easily available and had to be imported from other countries (Honour & Fleming, 1982).
As a result, the cost of decorated clothing was very high. Moreover, artists were unable to make materials choices easily because the preferred choice is highly influenced by material availability. Generally, the Islamic decorations can be considered to have brought about impressive
Brend, B., 1991. Islamic art. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Grabar, O., 2006. Constructing the study of Islamic art: 3. Aldershot: Ashgate Variorum.
Honour, H., & Fleming, J., 1982. A world history of art. London [etc.: Macmillan Reference Books.
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Mack, Rosamond E., 2001. Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600. University of California Press