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Public Lecture

Mshatta and the Invention of “Islamic Art” as a modern Concept

  • Eva Troelenberg
Tuesday 13 June 2017
GLASS-Islam Series | Eva Troelenberg
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Dr. Eva Troelenberg (Max Planck Institute) will be visiting Leiden University as a GLASS-Islam visiting fellow. From 13 to 15 June 2017, she will give a public lecture, provide a masterclass, and participate in an interdisciplinary faculty roundtable. These activities will all focus on the topic of travelling objects and concepts between the Middle East and Europe. On 13 June 2017, from 15:00-17:00 hrs., Eva Troelenberg will give the public lecture, entitled "Mshatta and the Invention of “Islamic art” as a modern Concept".

Please register at: lgi@leiden.edu

About the lecture

The ornamented façade of Mshatta was once part of a so-called early Islamic"desert palace" that was built around the mid-8th century AD in present-day Jordan. In the early twentieth century it came to Berlin as a gift of the Ottoman sultan. Today it has its place in the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin and is not just one of the major monumental exhibits on the Museum Island – it is also a central keystone for the history of Islamic art which emerged as a scholarly discipline and as a museological field of interest just around the time of Mshatta’s discovery.
In her talk, Eva Troelenberg will trace the modern history of Mshatta. This will lead from the first descriptions by Western travelers around 1840 to its musealisation in Berlin to its destruction during WWII and subsequent reconstruction.

This object-“biography” will be filtered through the paradigms of what was a crucial century of museum history and intellectual discourse. It is a telling case study for art historical and/or museal concepts that collectively inform how non-European art and culture was perceived and appropriated within museums and academia.

Facade of the early Islamic "desert castle" Mshatta, originally located in present-day Jordan. Photo: Museum of Islamic Art / Pergamonmuseum, East Berlin, 1970s. 

About the speaker

Eva Troelenberg studied art history, history and communications at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Venice International University. In 2007, she became a Research Assistant / Doctoral Candidate at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. Between 2007 and 2009 she was a postgraduate Fellow of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. She completed her dissertation on the Munich Exhibition of Masterpieces of Muhammadan Art in 2010, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow of the Kunsthistorisches Institut project "Connecting Art Histories in the Museum. The Mediterranean and Asia 400-1650" (in cooperation with the State Museums in Berlin / Museum of Islamic Art). Since September 2011 she is the head of the Max Planck Research Group "Objects in the Contact Zone: The cross-cultural Life of Things" at Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. She also did teaching assignments at LMU Munich, University of Vienna and at the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", University of Heidelberg, and was a visiting professor at University of Munich (2013, History of Islamic Arts) and Zürich University (2016/17, Modern and Contemporary Art History).

About the GLASS-Islam series

GLASS (Global Asia Scholar Series) is a joint initiative of two interdisciplinary research clusters at Leiden – Asian Modernities and Traditions (AMT) and Global Interactions (GI) – which invites leading or emerging international scholars whose work has been influential across disciplinary, regional, and national boundaries within Asia and beyond to speak at Leiden University. The GLASS-Islam series of events highlights Islamic studies and is organized in close cooperation with LUCIS.


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