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 the developments in Italian ceramics and glass were made possible by Italy's proximity to the Islamic world. The Arts of Fire underscores how central the Islamic influence was on this luxury art of the Italian Renaissance. Published to coincide with an exhibition at the Getty Museum on view from May 4 to August 5, 2004, 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. These techniques - enamel and gilding on glass and tin-glaze and lustre on ceramics - produced brilliant and colourful decoration that was a source of awe and admiration, transforming these crafts, for the first time, into works of art and true luxury commodities. Essays by Catherine Hess, George Saliba, and Linda Komaroff demonstrate early modern Europe's debts to the Islamic world and help us better understand the interrelationships of cultures over time.
The Arts of Fire
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