The Artistic Heritage of al-Andalus and National Identity

Annual Conference of the Carl Justi Association

Berlin, Humboldt Universität-Hauptgebäude, Unter den Linden 6, Hörsaal 3075, October 27-29, 2017

Organizers: Prof. Dr. Horst Bredekamp (Humboldt Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. Francine Giese (Universität Zürich), Prof. Dr. Stefan Trinks (Humboldt Universität Berlin)

Keynote Speakers: Jerrilynn Dodds (Sarah Lawrence College, Bronx-ville/New York), Juan Calatrava Escobar (Universidad de Granada)

The history of Spain is defined by phases of cultural opening and seclusion. Whereas Alfonso X and Pedro I furthered the integration of al-Andalus’ art and architecture into the national narrative through their pro-Islamic cultural policy, the staging of a unified Catholic culture became the central topic of painting, sculpture and architecture during the Counter-Reformation. Only from the 18th century, a re-valorisation of the Islamic heritage in al-Andalus took place. Its part in forming a Spanish national identity was subject to controversial discussion on the background of changing historic and political necessities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Simultaneously, architects of the time advertised the Moorish Revival and helped Ibero-Islamic architecture to gain global centre stage. The Alhambrismo not only became one of the most favoured interior styles of the 19th century, but also dominated the Great Exhibitions which regularly took place after 1851. Besides Spain, Prussia (1867), Brazil (1876), or Mexico (1884) presented themselves with a Neo-Moorish exhibition pavilion. This year’s annual conference of the Carl Justi Association aims to examine selectively the importance of al-Andalus for the forming of national identity from the Middle Ages to the present age.


Picture credit: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg / Thomas Scheidt, Christian Stein

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