The course traces the development of manuscript illustration in Islamic lands up to the year 1258. In its first part, the question of iconoclasm within Islam will be discussed, as will be the opposing currents of extensive use of figural representation and their intellectual and social contexts.
The second part of the course is dedicated to the specifics of the art of the book. We shall examine the earliest testimonies of manuscript illustration in the Islamic world and their sources in mural painting, mosaics, painted decoration of objects, and translated scientific texts. Then, we shall follow the development of narrative illustration since the 12th century and explore how this changed the relationship between text and image.