Mudejarismo and Moorish Revival in Europe.

Transcultural exchanges between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the architecture of the Middle Age and Modern Times

The edifices of Hispano-Islamic architecture that emerged in al-Andalus between 711 and 1492 have influenced the building activity of Christian and Jewish patrons well before the decline of al-Andalus, at a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews still coexisted on the Iberian Peninsula. Carried out by Islamic artisans the so-called Mudéjar architecture took over Islamic elements and created a specifically Spanish architectural style.

From the 17th century, when Hispano-Islamic buildings and decorative forms became fashionable in European architecture and interior design, a similar fascination for the art and the culture of al-Andalus created innumerable neo-Moorish replicas. However, whilst Mudéjar architecture was characterized by direct contacts with contemporary emerging buildings, later replicas are receptions of forms of historical architecture that had, in the meantime, become anachronistic.

Why do we observe the persistence of Islamic forms in the Christian reconquered areas of the Iberian Peninsula? Why was there a revival of Hispano-Islamic architecture in modern Europe? Had the Islamic forms just been adopted for esthetical purposes or did they also convey meanings?

The project will focus on four main fields: 1) the architectural foundations of the Islamic period, 2) the transfer mechanisms, 3) the Christian and Jewish adoptions in the Middle Age (Mudéjar) and Modern Times (17th to 19th century) and, 4) the phenomena of the transcultural exchanges on the Iberian Peninsula as well as the problems raised in the scientific handling of cross-border processes.

How far and to what extent did the vision of al-Andalus and its architectonic heritage change over the centuries? What were the artistic motivations and the socio-political reasons for adoptions of an architectural language from other cultural areas? And how did these Islamic replicas look?

The aim of this project is to emphasize the complexity of transcultural exchanges in medieval and modern Europe, to scrutinize the problematic of scientific fields within a changing world view that are often too narrow, and to discuss a possible repositioning of Islamic Art History. The inclusion of methods and questions from the field of Islamic Sciences shall further offer a perspective that goes beyond the usual scope of Art History and which shall thus give the project an additional dimension.

Research Output

Share this page: