Re-examining the Renaissance
Civilisations, SBS, Saturday at 7.30pm
THINK Renaissance and you think Italy. But in the 15th and 16th centuries the great Islamic empires experienced their own extraordinary cultural flowering.
The two phenomena did not unfold in separate artistic universes; they were acutely conscious of, and in competition with, each other and mutually open to influences flowing both ways.
That rivalry unfolds most spectacularly over the creation of domes – in Ottoman Istanbul the great engineer-architect Mimar Sinan builds the light-flooded Suleymaniye mosque, while at the same time in Rome Michelangelo designs the great dome over the St Peter’s Basilica.
The fate of the hero-artist, seemingly touched by God, henceforth diverged in east and west.