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Islamic and Renaissance Gardens : A Case for Mutual Influence ?

Appel à communication expirant le 30 septembre 2011.

samedi 10 septembre 2011, par Guillaume Berthon

In the 16th century, political and economic engagements between
Renaissance Europe and the Islamic world opened new pathways for
cultural exchange. Trade, diplomacy and tourism vastly enhanced
Europeans’ knowledge of Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal urban design and
architectural practice. As travel narratives from the period attest,
Europeans reported on the cities, gardens, and buildings with which they
came into contact, often characterizing them as sites of social
interaction. Some of the accounts even included drawings and sketches
of Islamic cities and gardens, which captured the attention of European
cultural elites. Intellectual and artistic exchanges facilitated by
merchants, tourists, and missionaries also added to the reciprocal flow
of architectural ideas and concepts.

During this period, some simultaneous changes occurred in garden design
in Europe and Persia. The role of gardens in cities grew in prominence,
with a gradual shift in emphasis from gardens for the private sphere to
an increasingly public function. As a natural consequence of this
shift, gardens began to serve as the core of new urban plans and
designs. This phenomenon not only established a new relationship
between the garden and city, but also emphasized the garden pavilion or
villa as the focal point. Are such concurrent developments in European
and Islamic gardens the result of universal political and social changes
in both regions or could these garden design traditions mutually have
influenced one another ? The papers in this panel can study such
potential influences by comparing the meanings and forms of gardens in
the Islamic world to those in Europe or by exploring historical
documents to validate mutual influence in garden design. The papers can
also compare and contrast between the function of the palace or
pavilions in relation to the garden in Islamic cultures and the villa in
relation to the garden in European cultures. The papers can cover
gardens from subcontinent India to North Africa.

Please send paper proposals and short CVs by September 30, 2011 to
Mohammad Gharipour and to Stephen Caffey.


Illustration : peintre vénitien anonyme, La Réception des ambassadeurs à Damas, détail, ca. 1511 (source : Wikimedia Commons).

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