"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Painted Ceilings of Cappella Palatina (Palermo, Sicily)

In the NOTE ON ILLUSTRATIONS from Corbin's Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, pp. xxxi-xxxii, he discusses the Palatine Chapel at Palermo (see this earlier post: The Green Bird & the Resurrection Body). This April 13th lecture should be of some interest:

Islamic Art for Christian Patrons
The Painted Ceilings of Cappella Palatina (Palermo, Sicily), circa 1140

Tuesday, April 13, 7 PM
Freer Gallery, Meyer Auditorium

Located within the Palazzo dei Normanni (Palace of the Normans), the Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) is the finest example of Arab-Norman art in Palermo, Sicily. Built by Roger II in 1130 to 1140, the chapel is decorated with exceptional mosaics and paintings of saints and biblical stories as well as scenes of Arab and Norman court life.
The palace was originally built for the Arab emirs and their harems in the ninth century on a site where Roman and Punic fortresses once stood. Centuries later, the conquering Normans fully restored the palace and added to its splendor. In the mid-sixteenth century, the abandoned palace was again restored, this time by the ruling Spanish viceroys, and today it serves as the seat of Sicily's government.

Dr. Jeremy Johns is professor of art and archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean and serves as the director of the Khalili Research Centre at the University of Oxford, England. He is a world expert on Norman Sicily.

Click here for more information.
Detail: North aisle, Cappella Palatina

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