Introduction to Islamic Art

Language Arabic
Start Date 27/09/2020
Duration 6 weeks
Effort 10 hours
Level Entry Level
End Date 08/11/2020

In this course Introduction to Islamic Art, you will learn to recognize, appreciate and understand Islamic art. The course addresses the epistemological, philosophical and academic definitions of Islamic art in accessible terms. To this day, the definition is contested by many and the class will include an overview of the scholarly discussions around the topic. Students then undergo a journey to discover key eras, important monuments and decorative items. In the process, they learn about sacred geometry, arabesque and calligraphy, as well as the religious, political, cultural, creative, technical and architectural considerations underlying canonic works of Islamic art.

What You Will Learn

  • Define Islamic art based on canonic principles within the discipline
  • Explain the academic and epistemological debates surrounding the canonic definition of Islamic art
  • List the key eras of Islamic art in terms of history and geography and appraise them
  • Differentiate between key eras in terms of motifs, mediums and aesthetic developments
  • Identify key Islamic monuments and accessories reviewed during the course
  • Explain the religious, cultural and socio-political considerations underlying these monuments and accessories
  • Value the technical and artistic merits of these monuments and accessories
  • Define the principle of sacred geometry
  • Value the technical and artistic merits of Islamic patterns in general and Arabesque in particular
  • Compare and contrast recurring motifs during the course of the various Islamic art eras
  • Explain how Arabic calligraphy developed
  • Identify the various types of calligraphic styles


Unit One: Defining Islamic Art

This module explores the canonic definition of Islamic Art as well as the debates surrounding this definition within and outside the major.

Unit Two: Key Eras of Islamic Art

This module introduces looks at key eras of Islamic Art and the main aesthetic, technical and cultural characteristics of each era.

Unit Three: Key Islamic Monuments

This module introduces students to key monuments of notable importance in Islamic Art. This selection includes a variety of architectural wonders that Islamic Art students ought to know.

Unit Four: Major Islamic Accessories

This module introduces students to key accessories of notable importance in Islamic Art. This selection includes a variety of artistic wonders, many of which also hold a functional purpose.

Unit Five: Islamic Motifs and Patterns

This module presents an overview of the recurrent motifs in Islamic Art, and sheds light on an important aspect of the field -namely Islamic patterns in general, and arabesque in particular.

Unit Six: Arabic Calligraphy

This module is an introduction to Arabic calligraphy, a key component of Islamic Art.

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Instructors and Team

Yasmine Dabbous, PhD
Yasmine Dabbous, PhD

Fiber artist and jewelry designer with a doctoral degree in cultural history. Founder of Kinship Stories and Espace Fann.

Nour Tannir
Nour Tannir

Interior architect with a minor degree in Islamic Art. Tannir’s experience focuses on interior styling and turnkey projects. Co-founder of Espace Fann.

Amira mohamad alayli
Amira mohamad alayli

Amira mohamad alayli senior coordinator at espacefann having a bachelor's degree in psychology and clinical nutrition. She held the position of public relations manager at mövenpick hotel Jeddah and worked as a floor manager in Jacques dessange institute jeddah, while working at the same time as a relationship manager at Alaamal Institute for training and development. She participated in many workshops and self development trainings and enrolled in courses about communication skills and creative thinking. Amira is bilingual, she is fluent in English and French in addition to the Arabic native language.

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