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Aesthetics, Architecture, Cognition, Design History, Epigraphy, Interdisciplinarity, Islam, Mathematics, Medieval Studies, Nasrid Dynasty, Optics, Poetry, Rhetoric, Textiles, VC
Olga Bush, Visiting Associate Professor of Art History at Bard College, discusses her book: Reframing the Alhambra: Architecture, Poetry, Textiles, and Court Ceremonial (Edinburgh University Press, 2018). The book was a finalist for the College Art Association's 2019 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, which "honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in the English language." "The Nasrid builders of the Alhambra – the best-preserved medieval Muslim palatial city – were so exacting that some of their work could not be fully explained until the invention of fractal geometry. Their design principles have been obscured, however, by the loss of all archival material. This book resolves that impasse by investigating the neglected, interdisciplinary contexts of medieval poetics and optics and through comparative study of Islamic court ceremonials. This reframing enables the reconstruction of the underlying, integrated aesthetic, focusing on the harmonious interrelationship between diverse artistic media – architecture, poetry and textiles – in the experience of the beholder, resulting in a new understanding of the Alhambra."