The largest museum in the world launches its latest venture on 19 April 2007: 18 Virtual Exhibitions invite visitors to discover the great Islamic dynasties of the Mediterranean, together with their fascinating cultural and artistic heritage. 204 monuments and sites as well as 603 artefacts from 14 countries tell the story of the protagonists of the Islamic Mediterranean between AH 41 AH / AD 661 (the establishment of the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus) and the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1922.
Each of the 18 Virtual Exhibitions was conceived by a team of museum curators from both sides of the Mediterranean. More than 90 experts contributed to the creation of this new offering from the www.discoverislamicart.org Virtual Museum. For the first time, visitors will be able to look at the region's history from a shared perspective and to approach the rich and varied world of Islamic art and architecture following the great themes of Islamic civilisation as presented by its direct heirs.
For example, Morocco, represented in the Discover Islamic Art Virtual Museum by 35 monuments and 50 artefacts from nine Moroccan museums coordinated by the Archaeological Museum in Rabat, has shared with Algeria, Portugal and Spain the curating of the Virtual Exhibitions dedicated to The Muslim West and Geometric Decoration.
Available in eight languages – Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish – the Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Exhibition cycle is divided into three sections: 1) exhibitions dedicated to the great Islamic dynasties – the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Fatimids, the dynasties of the Muslim West, the Ayyubids, the Mamluks and the Ottomans; 2) exhibitions with transverse themes such as Figurative Art, Arab Calligraphy, the Role of Women, Geometric Decoration, Water, Pilgrimage and Floral and Vegetal Decoration; 3) exhibitions dedicated to points of contact between the histories of Europe and the Islamic Mediterranean: the Crusaders, Mudejar Art, Siculo-Norman Art in Sicily, and Western influences in Ottoman lands.
The Virtual Exhibitions are accompanied by a richly illustrated 272-page book. 22 chapters written by 39 authors from 14 countries provide complementary information on the same topics, presenting them in a larger historical context. Published in the same eight languages, the book is available in bookshops all over Europe and the Mediterranean and through the Internet.