London’s Victoria and Albert Museum contains one of the finest collections of Islamic art in Europe or America. It is housed in the V&A’s Jameel Gallery—a facility designed to increase awareness and appreciation of Islamic art. This program highlights the beauty and complexity of the Jameel collection; it also enables viewers to closely examine individual pieces.
Art scholar Waldemar Januszczak introduces viewers to masterworks in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia—from the gigantic and surreal mud mosques of Mali; to a rare, 10th-century Egyptian ewer carved out of a single piece of rock crystal; to the inspired urban planning of the ancient city of Isfahan in Iran; to the stunning architecture of Uzbekistan’s Samarakand.
In this program, art critic Waldemar Januszczak travels through the heart of the Middle East and beyond to study a wide range of Islamic architecture, decoration, and art objects. Providing helpful historical background on the faith—with an eye on the explosive spread of early Islamic culture—the program examines the pristine beauty of India’s Taj Mahal as well as one of the world’s oldest surviving mosques, and what may be its most spectacular: the Great Mosque in the Syrian capital of Damascus.