Image Archive and Research Platform for the Islamic, Ancient and Christian Orient

Islamic Art Historians

Bode, Wilhelm

Wilhelm (von) Bode (1845-1929) 

Wilhelm (from) Bode, director-general of the Royal Museums in Berlin since 1905, had started early to collect Islamic carpets in Italy. He has the great merit of having initiated an Islamic department at the Berlin Museums.  He also inspired the young Friedrich Sarre for the Islamic art history and later won him as director of the newly founded department (1904).


Cohn-Wiener, Ernst

Ernst Cohn-Wiener (1882-1941)

Ernst Cohn-Wiener (until 1907 Cohn), born in Tilsit in 1882, was a versatile art historian who not only dealt with European, Jewish and Islamic art history, but also researched and published on Asian art in general. In particular, his 1930 published work on the architecture of Central Asia in Islamic times is known in professional circles (Turan: Islamic architecture in Central Asia, Berlin 1930), which still has lasting value because of the numerous good photographs from the 1920s. 

Read more: Cohn-Wiener, Ernst

Gurlitt, Cornelius

Cornelius Gurlitt (1850-1938)

German Art Historian and Architect, b. 1.1.1850 in Nischwitz near Wurzen (Saxonia), d. 25.3.1938 in Dresden. 1890 Habilitation at the TH Charlottenburg, from 1893 until 1920 Professor of History of Architecture at the TH Dresden. Gurlitt has been known for his works on baroque, rococo und classcism, his works on Islamic / Ottoman Architecture are widely unknown to the public, and are not mentioned in the DBE (Deutschen Bibliographischen Enzyklopädie) at all.

Read more: Gurlitt, Cornelius

Otto-Dorn, Katharina

Katharina Otto-Dorn (1908-1999)

Katharina Otto-Dorn (b. Käthe Dorn) stood in direct succession of the founding generation of Islamic Art History, scholars and researchers as Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945) and Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941), her supervisor in Vienna, where she was awarded with a doctorate (dissertation thesis on Sassanian Silverware in 1933).  

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Sarre, Friedrich

Friedrich Sarre (1865-1945)

The explorer, traveler, collector and later first director of the "Islamic Department" of the Royal Museums of Berlin (now Museum of Islamic Art of the Berlin State Museums) Friedrich Paul Sarre can be considered the actual founder of Islamic Art History, including architecture and archeology of  the Islamic periods. Between 1895 and 1900 he undertook several major expeditions to Anatolia (Ottoman Empire), Persia (Iran) and Turkestan (Russian Empire). See the article "Philipp Walter Schulz and Friedrich Sarre: Two German Pioneers in the Development of Persian Art Studies on Academia.

Read more: Sarre, Friedrich

Schneider, Alfons Maria

As a theologian, Christian archaeologist and Byzantinist, Alfons Maria Schneider (1896 - 1952) left behind an extensive, surprisingly broad oeuvre: for example, he excavated in the forecourt of the Hagia Sophia and was able to determine the original building, for many years he published the BZ, the Byzantine Journal, and made numerous contributions, he has written a monograph on Hagia Sophia - also appealing to a wider audience - and he initiated the excavations of Resafa / Rusafa in northern Syria. The latter also documents his interest in the Christian Orient, and his open-mindedness towards the Islamic Orient is evident in the promotion and support of Katharina Otto-Dorn (1908-1999).

Only a few photos of him are known so far; now an unknown one depicting him in the ruins of the Byzantine palace of Qasr ibn Wardan (6th century CE) in northern Syria taken in 1951 can be published here for the first time.

Schulz, Philipp Walter

Philipp Walter Schulz (1864-1920)

Philipp Walter Schulz, born in Leipzig in 1864, came from a wealthy family (his father was a merchant and banker), which later enabled him as a private scholar to devote himself to the study of Islamic book art. He published a groundbreaking work for his time "Die persisch-islamische Miniaturmalerei: Ein Beitrag zur Kunstgeschichte Irans" (Hirsemann, Leipzig 1914)", unfortunately the recognition was long denied. A small part of his former collection is still kept in two museums in Leipzig.  

Read more: Schulz, Philipp Walter

Strzygowski, Josef

Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941)

Josef Strzygowski was one of the most versatile and at the same time most controversial art historians of the first half of the 20th century. On the occasion of his 150th birthday in 2012, two major symposia were held, in spring in Biala, his birthplace (formerly Galicia, today Bielsko in Poland) and in October in Vienna, organized by the Society for Comparative Art Research, Josef Strzygowski founded in 1934.

Read more: Strzygowski, Josef

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