ARTH 699: Topics in Art History

ARTH 699-001: Ottoman Empire
(Fall 2014)

04:30 PM to 07:10 PM T

Off-Campus Location OCL

Section Information for Fall 2014

The vast, polyglot Ottoman Empire was one of the great world empires in the early modern period, with unique achievements in architecture and the decorative arts built on earlier Turkic and Islamic traditions. It was also a major partner and rival in the luxury goods trade with the Italian, Russian, Persian and Arab worlds.  In this graduate seminar, we will investigate the history of Ottoman art and architecture, taking advantage of a new wave of scholarship on its princely arts, domed architecture, textiles, ceramics, and trade relations. We will also consider related cultural issues such as the palace and harem, poetry, music, minority communities, and its dynamic relationships with Renaissance Italy and nineteenth century Europe.


The focus of the shared readings and discussions course will be on the cultural and historical context of Ottoman art, through weekly readings and discussion of the major media, primary sources and recent scholarship.  Students will lead discussions of the readings, and will present their own work in class.  While this is not primarily a course on object connoisseurship, students will be welcome to pursue that in their individual research projects if they wish.  As with any seminar, weekly attendance and active participation will be mandatory.  Since we will be meeting at the Smithsonian, we will make use of the Freer Gallery’s collection of Islamic art.  We will also explore the Textile Museum’s extraordinary collection of Ottoman silks, carpets and embroideries, if they reopen next fall as expected. 


No prior experience with Islamic or Renaissance art is required, though students will be expected to catch up with the basics in the first few weeks of class.

ARTH 699 001 meets at the Smithsonian Ripley Center room 3031.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Research seminar on aspects of art history. Topics vary, but course entails extensive critical readings and discussion, development of bibliographies, and advanced-level research papers. Notes: May be repeated when topic is different. May be repeated within the term for a maximum 15 credits.
Specialized Designation: Topic Varies
Registration Restrictions:

Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.

Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.

Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.

Schedule Type: Seminar
This course is graded on the Graduate Regular scale.

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