Alnoor Merchant, Head Librarian and Keeper of Special Collections at The Institute of Ismaili Studies recently visited Arlington, Waco, Austin and Chicago in the USA to talk about artistic, intellectual and architectural patronage in the Islamic world. He also spoke about the important role that patrons played in the history of Islamic art.
Drawing upon selected art works, manuscripts and miniatures from the collections of the Aga Khan Museum (AKM) and The Institute of Ismaili Studies, Mr Merchant recounted the exuberance and dynamism of artistic environments established from Indonesia to Spain by patrons who attracted celebrated artists to create vibrant and unique masterpieces. “It was fascinating and enlightening,” said Dr Beth Wright, Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Arlington. “I especially appreciated how he put Islamic art into its historical and cultural context, and his insights on the exchange of ideas and objects between Western and Islamic cultures.”