Oleg Grabar: Historian Who Studied Islamic Culture, Dies at 81


Source: NYT, 1-12-11

Oleg Grabar, a historian of Islamic art and architecture whose imposingly broad range and analytical subtlety helped transform the Western study of Islamic culture, died Saturday at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 81.

Prof. Oleg Grabar

The cause was heart failure, his wife, Terry, said.

Professor Grabar, the son of the eminent Byzantinist Andre Grabar, specialized in the architecture of the seventh- and eighth-century Umayyad dynasty early in his career. In the 1960s he led the excavations at Qasr al-Hayr East in Syria, the site of an early Islamic palace in an area long thought to be a historical blank.

His interests broadened to embrace the Islamic world beyond the Middle East and a wide variety of subjects, including the architecture of Jerusalem under Islamic rule, Arabic and Persian illustrated manuscripts, Islamic ornament and contemporary Islamic architecture.

Many of his books are regarded as classics, notably “The Formation of Islamic Art” (1973) and “Islamic Art and Architecture, 650 to 1250” (1987), written with Richard Ettinghausen for the Pelican History of Art….READ MORE

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