Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum

July 18, 2004 – February 6, 2005

East Building, Upper Level, Northwest

THIS EXHIBITION IS NO LONGER ON VIEW AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY.

Overview: 108 works from the Islamic world of the Middle East were shown in this exhibition, which included ceramics, textiles, ivories, carpets, metalwork, glass, and woodwork. The works were on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, whose Islamic galleries were closed for renovation. The presentation was organized in thematic sections titled: The Written Word; Courts and Courtiers; Mosques, Shrines, and Churches; and Ottoman Patronage. The final section of the exhibition, Artistic Exchange, explored interchanges between the Middle East, China, and Europe. The exhibition included a 23-foot high pulpit (minbar) made for a mosque in Cairo in the 15th century. In conjunction with the exhibition, objects in the National Gallery’s permanent collection showing the influence of Islamic art in various parts of the museum were highlighted.

An audio tour was narrated by National Gallery of Art Director Earl A. Powell III with commentary by exhibition curator Tim Stanley and others.

Related activities included a 2-part lecture series Artistic Exchange on the Mediterranean: Islamic, Byzantine, and European Art. A family weekend on November 6 and 7, Explore Islamic Art, included art activities, performances by Sharq Arabic Music Ensemble, and a book signing by David Macaulay, author of Mosque. A Sunday concert of music by Mussorgsky and Persian composers was performed by pianist Ariana Barkeshli on November 21 in honor of the exhibition.

Cinema from the Lands of Abraham, a 3-part series of recent films from Turkey, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Egypt and Syria, was presented between October 31, 2004 and January 16, 2005.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in association with the National Gallery of Art. Tim Stanley, senior curator of Islamic art at the Victoria and Albert Museum, was the curator.

Sponsor: The exhibition at the National Gallery of Art was supported by H.R.H. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States. The international tour was made possible by Mohammed Jameel. The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Teaching Packet: Islamic Art and Culture: A Resource for Teachers, by Carla McKinney Brenner. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2004.

Attendance: 175,262

Catalog: Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum, by Tim Stanley et al. London: Victoria and Albert Museum; Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2004.

Brochure: Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum, by Tim Stanley. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2004.

Explore Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Family Activity Guide. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 2004.

Other Venues: Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, April 3–September 4, 2005
Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, October 22–December 11, 2005
Millennium Galleries, Sheffield, England, January 14–April 16, 2006

Image: Installation view of Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Photo by Rob Shelley, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gallery Archives