Islamic Influences on Glass and Ceramics of the Italian Renaissance


The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on Glass and Ceramics of the Italian Renaissance

Edited by Catherine Hess, with contributions by George Saliba and Linda Komaroff


184 pages

PDF file size: 14.0 MB


Students and scholars of the Italian Renaissance easily fall under the spell of its achievements: its self-confident humanism, its groundbreaking scientific innovations, its ravishing artistic production. Yet many of these achievements were made possible only by Italy’s proximity to the Islamic world. The Arts of Fire shows just how important Islamic influences were on one particular facet of the Italian Renaissance: the development of Italian luxury ceramics and glass.

Published to coincide with an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, The Arts of Fire demonstrates how many of the techniques of glass and ceramic production and ornamentation were first developed in the Islamic East between the eighth and twelfth centuries. Essays by volume editor Catherine Hess and by Linda Komaroff and George Saliba demonstrate early modern Europe’s debt to the Islamic world and help us better understand the interrelationships of cultures over time.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    Deborah Gribbon
  • Acknowledgments
    Catherine Hess
  • Map of the Islamic World and Southern Europe, ca. A.D. 700–1800
  • Brilliant Achievements: The Journey of Islamic Glass and Ceramics to Renaissance Italy
    Catherine Hess with the assistance of Nassim Rossi
  • Color, Precious Metal, and Fire: Islamic Ceramics and Glass
    Linda Komaroff
  • The World of Islam and Renaissance Science and Technology
    George Saliba
  • Plates
  • Blown Glass
  • Islamic Enameled and Gilded Glass
  • Islamic Influences on Italian Glass
  • Tin Glaze and Luster on Ceramics
  • Islamic Motifs on Italian Ceramics
  • The Albarello
  • The Influence of Porcelain
  • Glossary
  • References
  • Index

About the Authors

Catherine Hess is associate curator of sculpture at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

George Saliba is professor of Arabic and Islamic science at Columbia University.

Linda Komaroff is curator of Islamic art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.