RESEARCH SEMINAR IN ISLAMIC ART
Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
SOAS, University of London
Anna McSweeney on “Arthur von Gwinner and the Alhambra Cupola in Berlin”
Thursday 7 May 2015
5.30pm in Room B111 (Brunei Building)
Abstract: One of the jewels in the collection of the Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin is the so-called Alhambra cupola, a fourteenth-century wooden ceiling that once was part of the famous Islamic palace in Granada, Spain. Made from hundreds of pieces of intricately carved and painted wood, it is one of the earliest and finest surviving Nasrid ceilings. This paper will explore how the cupola ended up in Berlin, brought there in 1891 by the highly cultured German financier Arthur von Gwinner (1856-1931), who so fell for the charms of the Alhambra palace that he wanted a piece of it for himself. Why did he want it, how did he get hold of it, and what did he do with it once he had it? These are questions that will be addressed in this research seminar. (Poster is attached).