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Cotopaxi Frederic Edwin Church
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Cotopaxi (76.89) — Frederic Edwin Church

Public Symposium on The Art and Influence of the Turkish Carpet

Sunday, February 11, 2007 |1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

  • For Everyone

Above: “Lotto” Carpet, Wool on a wool foundation, c. 1550-1600, Western Anatolia, Turkey. Gift of Dr. Eva Cassirer, 2000. Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, acc. no. F49.7

Public Symposium: A program jointly presented by the Asian & Islamic Art Forum of the Detroit Institute of Arts & the Turkish Cultural Foundation

The Art and Influence of the Turkish Carpet

1:00-5:00 PM Symposium, DIA Lecture Hall
5:00-7:00 PM Reception, Kresge Court

The earliest carpets that survive from the Middle Ages are a group of large fragments from Turkey attributed to the 12th or 13th centuries; they are of fundamental importance for the history of carpet-making. Carpets were one of the most important luxury products of the Islamic World, widely exported to Europe from at least this time. The appreciation of Turkish carpets in Renaissance Europe is evinced by their inclusion in paintings by Crivelli, Holbein and Lotto, among other artists. 500 years of stability and prosperity under the Ottoman Empire fostered the growth of patronage of carpets from Izmir to Cairo, with innovations and regional differences in production. This symposium provides a rare opportunity to examine the importance, designs, and longevity of Turkish carpets with four leading international experts, and to assess their impact on other areas of artistic production, material culture and ideas.

Dr. Esin Atil, Research Associate Smithsonian Institution
Classical Ottoman Designs: Their Origin and Development

Dr. Jon Thompson, Former May Beattie Fellow in Carpet Studies
     at the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, England
Early Turkish Carpets

Dr. Louise Mackie, Curator of Textiles and Islamic Art,
     The Cleveland Museum of Art
     Carpets of the Ottoman Sultans

Dr. Walter B. Denny, Professor of Art History,
     University of Massachusetts at Amherst
     Islamic Carpets and Europe: Combining Cultures for 700 Years

Notes on the speakers:

Dr. Esin Atil
As curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art, Dr. Atil organized numerous ground-breaking exhibitions including Renaissance of Islam: Art of the Mamluks in 1981 (which came to the DIA) and The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in 1987. She has published close to twenty books on the artistic traditions of the Islamic world, including studies on manuscripts, ceramics, and metalwork. Her latest publications include Images of Imperial Istanbul (1993) and Levni and the Surname: The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Festival (1999). She is currently a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Jon Thompson
Prior to his recent retirement, Dr. Jon Thompson was the May Beattie Fellow in Carpet Studies at the Ashmolean Museum, the University of Oxford for six years. Dr. Thompson is one of the foremost scholars of carpets and textiles from the Islamic World. He has written popular books on carpet studies for the general public, including Carpet Magic (1983), as well as various scholarly works. His current projects include the history of carpets in the fifteenth century, the study of sulfur isotopes in wool and the establishment of a resource and pathway for learning about carpets and textiles with a particular focus on the Islamic world.  He has recently published a substantial catalogue in the form of a book entitled Milestones in the History of Carpets (2006).

Louise Mackie
Louise Mackie has held the post of curator of textiles at three world-class museums: The Textile Museum, Washington, D. C., the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, where she was also Curator-in-Charge, and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio. At Cleveland, she is also the curator of Islamic art. She has curated more than twenty exhibitions throughout her career, and is the author of numerous articles and studies. Her book, The Splendor of Turkish Weaving An exhibition of silks and carpets of the 13th-18th centuries, accompanied an exhibition at the Textile Museum in 1973. She co-wrote Turkmen: Tribal Carpets and Traditions with Jon Thompson in 1980, still the standard resource on the subject. Mackie was a co-author in 2001 of Ipek: The Crescent and the Rose. Ottoman Imperial Silks and Velvets.

Prof. Walter Denny
Professor Walter Denny has taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Art History Program since 1970.  His main interest is in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, and economics and patronage in Islamic art. In 2002, he was named Charles Grant Ellis Research Associate in Oriental Carpets at The Textile Museum, Washington, DC. His recent books include Anatolian Carpets: Masterpieces from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul (1999), and as a co-author, Ipek: The Crescent and the Rose. Ottoman Imperial Silks and Velvets (2001), and current projects include an exhibition of the Ballard Collection of Oriental Carpets scheduled for 2008 or 2009 at the St. Louis Museum of Art.

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