"VENICE AND THE ISLAM 828-1797"
Location: Doge's Palace - Venice (I)
Dates: july 28, 2007 to november 25, 2007
After Paris and New York, this large-scale exhibition dedicated to the relationship between Venice and the world of Islam
arrives in the city itself, finding an ideal venue in the Doge’s Palace, a building that is the very symbol of the Venetian
Republic’s thousand-year history.
The fruit of collaboration between scholars from the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York and the Musei Civici Veneziani, the exhibition is curated by Stefano Carboni, organized and promoted by the Venice City
Council and by the Fondazione di Venezia, with the participation of Venezia Musei CNS (Consorzio Nazionale dei Servizi) and
The works on exhibit come from important museums in Europe and America and prestigious Venetian collections.
Complementary to the show itself is an interesting itinerary through the city in discovery of the various extant traces of the
historical and artistic links between the two cultures. A series of events related to the theme of the exhibition will be held.
The catalogue is published by Marsilio.
It was largely due to its relations with the Near East that Venice became a great maritime empire.
In the sixth century the city was still a Byzantine outpost in the West. Then, over the period from the ninth to the eleventh
century, it would gradual acquire greater independence and autonomy, consolidating its trading activities along the main routes
in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, from the seventh century onwards, the advance of Islam in the Near East had been overwhelming.
Thus, along the main routes of the silk and spice trade, the Venetians came into contact with the Muslim world, and over time
these trade links would intensify, leading to a mutual influence upon ideas, customs and culture.
Venice contacts with the world of Islam were, in fact, multi-facted, involving the city in relations with the Arabs,
the Mamelukes, the Persians, the Ottomans and the Turks.
The only European power to have permanent plenipotentiaries in the cities of the Near East, Venice would constantly maintain
a rational approach to the world of Islam. Throughout the vicissitudes of history, the city would build up a privileged
relationship with these great dynasties, and also show itself capable of appreciating Islamic learning and science.
And if Venice demonstrated its respects and admiration for Islamic culture, it received the same sort of respect in return:
whilst Venetian artists and craftsman explored the techniques, materials and styles of decoration developed in the Muslin world,
the markets of the East were very happy to import Venetian products, with the sultans themselves frequently commissioning work.
The aim of this exhibition is to bring out the extent of this mutual influence. Casting a new and interesting light on the men
of these centuries, it increases our appreciation of the sprit of initiative that animated them.
The show is divided into chronological-thematic sections that cover almost a thousand years of history, from 828 – the date of
the legendary transfer of the body of St. Mark from Alexandria to Venice – right up to 1797, the year of the fall of the Republic.
Particularly rich and intense during the period from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, the relation between the two cultures is illustrated in a wide range of fields: painting, sculpture, miniatures, cartography, metal-working, glass-making, jewellery, textiles, carpets and ceramics, to name but a few. All in all, there are some two hundred works of quite exceptional quality and importance, illustrating how interaction between the two cultures affected the development of artistic languages within them.
Admission included in the price of Museum ticket
full price 10,00 euro
reduced 8,00 euro
Musei Civici Veneziani
Telephone: +41 041 5209070