The Rise of Islamic Art at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian

12 July–7 October | Lisbon

I n Portugal, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is turning its attention to Orientalism, which fascinated its founder and many of his contemporaries. As one of the more prolific oil-barons-cum-art-collectors of the 20th century, Calouste Gulbenkian’s passion for the art of the Middle East saw him amass, between circa 1900–30, arguably one of the most significant collections of Islamic art ever to be housed in Western Europe.

Mosque lamp, Egypt (or Syria), 14th century, after 1321, Mamluk period. Photograph by Catarina Gomes Ferreira.

Entitled, The Rise of Islamic Art: From the end of the Ottoman Empire to the Age of Oil, this show aims to interrogate and draw parallels between the nature of collecting and the social and political climate in the first half of the 20th century, tracing the influence of Gulbenkian’s collecting and philanthropy concurrently alongside the evolutions in Middle Eastern politics and Islamic art.

A prince resting on a hunt and a prince visiting a hermit, Subhat-al-Abrar (The Rosary of the Pious) by Jami, copied by Sultan Muhammad Khandan, painted by Abdullah al-Shirazi. Iran, Mashad, Safavid period, text 1482–83, paintings 1564–65.
Photograph by Catarina Gomes Ferreira.

The exhibition will be on view at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, from 12 July–7 October.

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