Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600
The Mediterranean trade in luxury goods from the East made a strong and lasting impression on Italian artistic taste and production during the early Renaissance. This opulently illustrated book describes and illustrates the fascinating ways that imported art objects inspired improvements and new variety in Italian decorative arts. From Italian textiles featuring Islamic and Asian motifs to ceramics and glassware that reflected Syrian techniques and ornamental concepts, this book gives an extraordinary view of the influence of imported Oriental goods in Italy over three crucial centuries of artistic development.
Rosamond Mack traces Italy's emerging decorative arts tradition as she discusses textiles, ceramics, glass, bookbinding, and metalwork; she also considers how Italian painting reflects trans-Mediterranean trade and travel. Painters represented carpets and ceramics from the East in their works, as well as textiles with bands of writing replicating or suggesting Arabic script, negotiating cultural differences in their borrowings. These paintings show how Islamic motifs were absorbed into Christian contexts.
Beginning in the 1300s and 1400s, the works of Italian craftsmen inspired by luxury goods from Islamic and Asian countries gradually began to compete with those brought to Europe in huge quantities on Italian merchant ships. Yet even after their own versions surpassed the quality of some of the imported goods, Italians continued to collect, imitate, and adapt objects from the Ottoman empire and China. As Mack discusses these important influences, she provides useful summaries of the history of Renaissance decorative arts and presents a balanced and carefully researched view of the controversial topic of East-West artistic exchange.
This uniquely comprehensive study offers an intriguing look at the effects of exchange in Renaissance material culture, shedding new light on the development of the Italian Renaissance as a whole. No other source provides so rich and inclusive a synthesis of the period's decorative arts.
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Trade Travel and Diplomacy
Bookbinding and Lacquer
The Pictorial Arts
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