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