Workshop: “Heritage Revisited. Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe” – Universität Wien, 20-21/09/2018

Heritage Revisited.
Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe

20th – 21st September 2018

Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Wien


For centuries, objects from Islamic lands were unquestioned parts of the material and visual culture of pre-modern Latinate Europe. A textile from Fatimid Egypt, for instance, the so-called “Veil of Sainte Anne”, was kept in the cathedral treasury of Apt and venerated as a Christian relic.

The workshop “Heritage Revisited. Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe” is dedicated to the long eighteenth century, a period in which, so we believe, an important shift in the perception of such objects took place. Islamic provenances were rediscovered, objects were studied, drawn and discussed. Finally, they were subjected to the classificatory scheme of European modernity, which leaves little space for conceptions of a historically entangled heritage.

Object case-studies shed light on the networks of scholars and institutions involved in the rediscoveries and will be framed in the discussions within broader discourses on (European) cultural heritage. Ultimately, we wish to offer new perspectives on the history of scholarship, notably Islamic art history, but also on perceptions of cultural belonging, of “Europeanness” and “Otherness”, which deeply resonate with current societal concerns.


Thursday, 20th September 2018  

Dom Museum Wien

Stephansplatz 6, 1010 Wien



Visit to the Dom Museum Wien

With Gregor Pirgie, Universität Wien; Pia Razenberger, Tabadul Project; Markus Ritter, Universität Wien.

Places for the visit are limited. Please register until 15th September 2018



Universität Wien – Institut für Kunstgeschichte,

Universitätscampus Hof 9, Seminar Room 1

Garnisongasse 13, 1090 Wien



Welcome and Introduction

Isabelle Dolezalek, Technische Universität Berlin/SFB “Episteme in Bewegung” Freie Universität Berlin and Mattia Guidetti, Universität Wien.



Chair: Ebba Koch, Universität Wien



Elisabeth Rodini, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore: The Redaldi Inventory: a Prologue to Enlightenment Collecting


Federica Gigante, Ashmolean Museum Oxford: Objects of a “Certain Antiquity” and the Quest for their Cultural Context


Coffee (30 min.)


“Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands”

Chair: Barbara Karl, Textilmuseum St. Gallen



Claire Dillon, Columbia University New York: The Many Dimensions of a Work of Art: the Mantle of Roger II as a Case Study in Imperial Representation, Origin Stories, and the Formation of Specific Others


Michelina di Cesare, Sapienza Università di Roma: Four Eleventh and Twelfth-century Islamic Tombstones Discovered in Pozzuoli in the Seventeenth Century


Coffee (20 min.)



Carine Juvin, Musée du Louvre Paris: The “Baptistère de Saint-Louis” through the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: the Making of a “Historical Monument”


Anna Contadini, School of African and Oriental Studies London: Changing Perceptions of the Pisa Griffin and Other Objects




Friday, 21st September 2018

Universität Wien – Institut für Kunstgeschichte,

Universitätscampus Hof 9, Seminar Room 1

Garnisongasse 13, 1090 Wien


“Protagonists of the Rediscoveries”

Chair: Johannes Wieninger, MAK Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien



Mattia Guidetti, Universität Wien: Reading Ottoman Flags in the Marches Region, 1684-1838


Markus Ritter, Universität Wien: A Documentary Encounter with Medieval (Islamic) Art in Eighteenth-century Vienna


Tobias Mörike, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Knowledge-brokers and Object-interpreters: Maronite Christians and the Redefinition of “Islamicate Objects” by the 1800s


Coffee (30 min.)


Discussion Tables

Chair: Isabelle Dolezalek, TU / FU, Berlin



Table I (Seminar Room 1)

Isabelle Dolezalek, TU / FU, Berlin: On the Concept of Cultural Heritage: what is European and what is not?


Table II (Seminar Room 2)

Tobias Mörike, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Art Market Networks and their Role in Constituting “Islamic Art” Objects


Table III (Seminar Room 3)

Barbara Karl, Textilmuseum St. Gallen: Object Biographies and Dynamics of Collecting


12:45-13:30 (Seminar Room 1)

Plenum discussion




“Classifiying, Framing, Exhibiting”

Chair: Markus Ritter, Universität Wien



Sabine Du Crest, Université de Bordeaux: Islamic Border Objects in Seventeenth-century Europe


Gül Kale, Mc Gill University Montreal: Image as Text. Fischer von Erlach’s Take on Guillaume Grelot’s Drawings of Islamic Monuments in the Eighteenth Century


Ebba Koch, Universität Wien: Mughal Miniatures at Habsburg Vienna


Final Discussion


Workshop conceived by Dr. Isabelle Dolezalek (Technische Universität Berlin, SFB “Episteme in Bewegung” Freie Universität Berlin) and Dr. Mattia Guidetti (Universität Wien)

Attendance is free. Please register until 15th September 2018



The workshop is kindly supported by the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation, the Chair of Islamic Art History and the Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät of the University of Vienna.

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