This symposium was sponsored by the Trehan Research Fund for Islamic Art and Material Culture in conjunction with the Spain-North Africa Project.

In the twelfth century, new powers emerged throughout the Western Mediterranean, from the Almohads of North Africa to the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. In the Iberian Peninsula, upstart rulers with broad ambitions emerged in both Muslim and Christian territories. New city-states appeared with the dissolution of the Almoravid Empire in al-Andalus, and older kingdoms, including Castile-Leon and Aragon, began massive expansions under rulers who claimed imperial titles. This symposium explores how the rulers of this region deployed art (conceived in the broadest sense) to legitimate new claims, how they asserted their authority through the construction of palatial and liturgical spaces, and what kinds of objects their kingdoms produced, traded, or coveted. Talks will investigate how these rulers looked to imperial and caliphal precedents and rivals for models, how they elaborated on these models, and which communities of artisans and workmen they drew from. By bringing together scholars who work on the component kingdoms of this region, this symposium seeks to clarify the connections among them, crossing the geographic, ethnic, and religious lines imposed by modern scholarship. In doing so, it aims to develop new models for understanding the imbricated world of the medieval Western Mediterranean.

9 am

Peter N. Miller
Dean and Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Abigail Krasner Balbale
Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center

Camilo Gómez-Rivas
Assistant Professor of Mediterranean Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz; President, Spain-North Africa Project

9:15 am

Lev Arie Kapitaikin
Faculty Lecturer, Islamic Art, Tel Aviv University
Evoking Tales in a Medieval Ceiling: Sulayman’s / Solomon’s Birds in the Capella Palatina of Palermo

10 am

Juan Carlos Ruiz Souza
Professor of Art History, Complutense University of Madrid
Al-Andalus and Castile in Front of Hispania: Art and Its Protagonists in the Construction of a Shared Identity

10:45 am

Coffee Break

11:15 am

María Judith Feliciano
Independent Scholar
Twelfth-Century Textiles in Iberia at the Crossroads of Commerce and Ritual

12 pm

Lunch Break

1 pm

Francisco Prado-Vilar
Director of Cultural and Artistic Projects, Harvard University, Real Colegio Complutense
Laudes Regiae: Kingship, Transfiguration, and Eschatology in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

1:45 pm

Response and Q&A

Abigail Krasner Balbale
Assistant Professor, Bard Graduate Center

2:30 pm

Coffee Break

3 pm

Graduate Student Papers and Panel

Linda G. Jones
Ramón y Cajal Research Professor, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona

Umberto Bongianino
Doctoral Candidate, Islamic Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, Khalili Research Center
The Ideological Power of Some Almohad Illuminated Manuscripts

Negar Rokhgar
Doctoral Student, Art History, Rutgers University
Squinches, Signifiers of Muslim-Norman Integration at the Church of S. Cataldo in Palermo

Heather Hoge
Doctoral Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, The Pennsylvania State University
The Towers of Cefalù: A Display of Power in Roger II’s New Kingdom

4:30 pm

Concluding Discussion

5 pm