Kathryn Blair Moore
The other space of the arabesque: Italian Renaissance art at the limits of representation
Kathryn Blair Moore received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and is Assistant Professor of Art History at Texas State University. Her research spans the medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe and the Mediterranean region, with a particular focus on cross-cultural exchange between Christian and Islamic cultures. Her first book, The Architecture of the Christian Holy Land: Reception from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Her articles have appeared in Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, Muqarnas, and Art in Translation.
This project explores the history of the arabesque as a creative refraction of patterns on objects imported from the Islamic world that challenged perceived relations of surface and space, artifice and nature, and decorum and ornament. The project aims to deconstruct a still prevalent essentializing contrast between Islamic art, understood as inherently non-representational and abstract, and European art, understood as inherently naturalistic and representational. The project will do this by exploring the role of the concept of the arabesque in the historical emergence and development of these essentializations beginning in the Italian Renaissance.