Mudejar Art: A Cultural Exploration Class

July 20, 2016

During the past two weeks, students at the academy who took the Mudejar ceramics class learned about Mudéjar art, a style that is native and unique to the history of Spain, and a meeting point between Christianity and Islam. Mudéjar refers to the Muslims who continued to practice their religion and their customs in the territories that became part of Christian dominions such as Granada, the last Moorish bastion in Spain before the Spanish Reconquest in 1492. The materials, techniques, and formal elements of Islamic artistic work left their stamp on the architecture of Spain. Given that Islam forbids the representation of figures of nature, islamic art uses geometrical designs, patterns and the multiplication of decorative motifs in order to convey beauty and represent divinity.  

During the workshop, students were asked to create a clay object inspired by islamic art. The non-figurative quality, however, was not enforced. Instead, students were encouraged to create an everyday object of their choice while preserving certain formal elements of the chosen style. Another source of inspiration for their creations was the vast array of ceramic objects present all over the beautiful city of Granada. Moreover, students visited a traditional clay workshop, the Artesanías Jiménez Mariscal studio, which for four generations has preserved the tradition of modeling, firing and painting costumbrist clay figurines.

It was simply delightful to see the dynamic and creative variety of shapes, objects, and colors that the students of the Mudéjar class chose for their artwork. Here are some pictures taken during the workshop. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.