One endeavour of the 19th century was the study of the past. The scope of interest extended to all aspects of civilization, and included art and architecture. Within the wider spectrum of the history of art, Islamic art tended to be placed somewhere between late antiquity and the medieval period, or often it was studied using an ethnographic approach.

Colonialism and the presence of Europeans in the Middle East encouraged studies in Islamic art and, as the scholarly discipline evolved, it prompted both an interest in the private collecting of works of art and the enrichment of public and private collections. These were opened up to visitors in the latter part of the century.

Orientalism, exoticism, and a penchant for the variety seen in ornamental designs on works of art, were determining factors in the early stages of the historiography of Islamic art and collecting.

Early 16th century; 1915–1930 (Lázaro Galdiano collection)

Lázaro Galdiano Museum, Madrid, Spain

Silk; lampas weave

Islamic art exhibitions gave new light to artworks and increased interest among collectors. One of the most important Spanish art collectors was Lázaro Galdiano. He had an interest in the Spanish Muslim period and bought a number of pieces from this period for his collection.

See Database entry for this item

In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Encountering the East
Encountering the West
The concept of revivals