The Katzen Arts Center | Dr. Joanne Allen Infinite Geometries: Exploring the Arts of the Medieval Islamic World

By East City Art Editorial Team on January 16, 2024

Mon, January 22 2024 — Sun, March 3 2024

Joanne Allen, Interior of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, 2023. Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in.

Works by Dr. Joanne Allen, Art History professor at American University

This exhibition comprises drawings, oil and watercolor paintings, intaglio and relief prints, and fabrics based on the art history of the medieval Islamic world, in particular the Great Mosque of Córdoba, the most complex, decorative, and awe-inspiring building in early medieval Western Europe. This mosque’s forest of never-ending columns, horseshoe arches, and graphic alternating color scheme manifested the intellectual and mathematical achievements of the Islamic Golden Age of Spain, creating a peaceful and sacred space that belies its tortured social history.

In a broader context, the Islamic art tradition fostered the development of complex biomorphic and geometric patterns based on mathematical perfection and infinite expansion. Interlacing linear borders, radiating stars, and spiraling organic forms created mesmerizing designs that inspired reverence and meditation. This exhibition will showcase the diversity of artistic approaches across medieval localities, touching on the widespread phenomenon of intercultural exchange across faith traditions.

Katzen Arts Center is located at 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW.