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Lecture: Fatimid Artists in Palermo and Constantinople

9th March 2017, London

This MBI Al Jaber Foundation’s Corpus Christi lecture, co-hosted with Gingko, titled ‘Fatimid Artists in Palermo and Constantinople’, was presented by Jeremy Johns, Professor of the Art and Archaeology of the Islamic Mediterranean and Director of the Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East at the University of Oxford.

In his lecture, Professor Johns put forward evidence to suggest that an atelier from Fatimid Cairo was working in both Palermo and Constantinople. He did this by discussing a now lost room known as the ‘Mouchroutas’ that once existed in the Great Palace in Constantinople. Although the name ‘Mouchroutas’ is believed by some to indicate a Seljuq type conical kiosk, Professor Johns proposed that the term mentioned in medieval texts was in fact referring to the ‘Mouchroutia’ or wine-beakers held by the ruler and his cup-companions who were depicted on the ceiling. Using the writer Mesarites’s description he made a comparison with the surviving ceiling of the Cappella Palatina and deduced ‘that both were made by an atelier from Fatimid Cairo’.