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Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797
From 828, when Venetian merchants carried home from Alexandria the purported stolen relics of St. Mark, to the formal fall of the Serenissima Republic in 1797, the visual arts in Venice were influenced by Islamic art and by the city’s privileged cultural, diplomatic and artistic relationship with the Islamic world. Key to the success of the Venetians, who were far more tolerant than the rest of Europe in religious matters, was their pragmatism and their regard of Muslims as players in the wider world with whom it was vital to do business. For centuries the Republic’s priority remained diplomacy in their efforts to do whatever was necessary to keep trade unconstrained, even during the period of the Crusades and consequent excommunication on the part of the Pope.
Stefano Carboni has been Director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia since 2008. He has been instrumental in the successful completion of the $25m TomorrowFund towards acquisitions of contemporary art, for the reinstallation of the collections, and for continuous exhibition partnerships with major international art museums.
He was Curator and Administrator in the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where he was responsible for a large number of exhibitions, including the acclaimed Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797 (2006-2007). He has published Glass of the Sultans (2001); The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Arts and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353 (2002); Glass from Islamic Lands. The Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum, (2001); and recently The Wonders of Creation and Singularities of Painting. A Study of the Ilkhanid London Qazvini (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). He has been appointed Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and lectures widely in Islamic Art.
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