The course explores the art and architecture of the Ottoman Empire, including the Ottoman form of the mosque and the wondrous works of the 16th century master architect Sinan. It will show the mysteries of the Topkapi Palace, epicenter of the Sultan’s absolute power, and explore theories about the relative smallness of its buildings, its complicated plan, and the splendor of its decorations.

We will learn about Ottoman ceremony and protocol and become familiar with its imperial art styles produced in the Sultan’s workshops. We learn to see book illumination as an expression of power and wealth and beauty the Ottoman “policy of beauty” . We will discover it in other arts and crafts, from figural representation, a Persian tradition, to calligraphy and ornamentation such as famous glazed tiles from Isznik and precious carpets and textiles.

The close ties to Renaissance Venice and Italy will be shown.

Birgit Urmson