Seven Centuries of Blood and Beauty: Islamic Art and Architecture in Spain

23 May '18 - 13 June '18

For nearly 800 years Arabs ruled in the Iberian Peninsula (711–1492). They have left behind an array of remarkable artistic achievements that still today can be admired from major cities to small villages. Cordoba with the breathtaking Mosque, Seville with the influence from North Africa and Granada with the unsurpassed beauty of the Alhambra palace will be the main themes, but some time will be dedicated also to the art of the Mudéjares, the Muslim artists and artisans, who were allowed to remain in Spain after the Reconquista by the Catholic Kings.


Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Dates: 23 May '18 | 30 May '18 | 6 June '18 | 13 June '18

Class 1 Historical frame and the caliphate of Cordoba

In this first class, we will explore the arrival of the Arabs in the Iberian Peninsula and the establishment of the Caliphate of Cordoba. The Great Mosque of Cordoba and its multilayered history will be the main focus.

Class 2 Seville and the North African dynasties

The fragmentation of the caliphate due to the internal strife led by the Taifa Kings and the subsequent intervention of the Almoravids and Almohads will be investigated in this second class. Seville and the important links with the art and architecture of the Maghreb will be discussed.

Class 3 Granada and the Nasrids 

The Nasrids, the last Arab dynasty ruling in Spain, elected Granada as their capital. The citadel of Alhambra with its imposing walls and the delicacy of its decoration will be thoroughly examined.

Class 4 The art of the Mudéjares in Spain and beyond

The main focus in this final class will be on the artistic production of the Mudéjares. Decorative elements will be traced in churches and synagogues both in the mainland, the islands and the overseas colonies.



Roberta Marin on how she became interested in Islamic Art and Architecture and how her career developed from there.

After my BA, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Middle East and I became fascinated by the rich culture of the countries I visited. I enjoyed losing myself in the souks, wandering inside the major mosques and madrasas in Cairo, Istanbul, Marrakesh and absorbing a new vocabulary of patterns and motifs. I was inspired to do an MA in Art and Archaeology with a focus on Islamic Art and Architecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It was an exciting year!

I met excellent lecturers who were a source of inspiration and thanks to a scholarship by Ralph Pinder-Wilson, I had the financial support to do fieldwork for my MA thesis in Cairo. Following my MA, I worked at the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, collaborated with the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, and I  taught at various public institutions, such as the Birkbeck College, the London College of Communication, SOAS, Asia House and the University of York. The interest I developed in Islamic art and architecture during my travels and the year as MA student at SOAS have changed my life and I have to admit that they have been the best things that could have ever happened to me!

How many students will be in each class? There will be a maximum of 15 students in each class.

How will the course be taught?

Teaching in the classroom will be supported by richly illustrated PowerPoint presentations and an optional visit to the Islamic gallery of the British Museum/ V&A Museum.

Can I book a place and pay later?

No, your place on the course will only be confirmed on receipt of the course fee in full.

How can I sign up to a class?

To sign up to a course, you need to book online on the website section ‘COURSES’. You can find information about our current Islamic Art courses and book online above

What methods of payment do you accept?

Please use our online booking system (Go to ‘COURSES’ on the main menu of our website, select the course you are interested in and click ‘BOOK NOW’) to secure a seat on a course. You will need a debit or credit card to make a payment. Seats are reserved on a first come first serve basis.

What is your refund policy?

Our courses are often over-subscribed so the sooner you let us know you’ve changed your mind the better. We can then open your place up to someone else. Our rules on refunds are:

  • 75% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know more than 30 days before the course start date.
  • 50% of the course fee will be refunded if you let us know within 10 – 30 days before the course start date.
  • No refund will be given if you let us know fewer than 10 days before the course start date.

What happens if you cancel the course?

We will endeavour to ensure courses are not cancelled but if this does happen we will contact you as quickly as we can to let you know and to arrange a full refund.

Please contact us if you have any further questions on 020 78321310 or


The Arab British Centre

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