The new Islamic art galleries at the MET are absolutely breathtaking. I wasn’t familiar with the art and architecture from this part of the world until I was a senior at university and took a course in Islamic Art and Architecture. I was absolutely blown away, and if I wouldn’t have been graduating in three months and headed to grad school, I would have changed my major and gone back to start over from scratch, learned Arabic (or tried to), and studied Islamic Art and Architecure. It was eye-opening and completely changed my perspectives on the origins of art as I knew them.
The new galleries for the art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia are truly incredible, and is a must-see for anyone visiting the MET. They have even a small replica of a portion of the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain which is just too beautiful for words.
I have always been particularly drawn to the calligraphy and symbolic shapes and colors seen in the art and architecture of Islam. Even my four year old noticed the beautiful, bright blue hues seen throughout the galleries, which is thought to be a color that provides protection and wards off evil (try teaching a 4 year-old the word apotropaic. Comical indeed.). The curators at the MET have done a masterful job of creating a unique experience that helps you feel and understand the art.
You can learn a lot about a culture by looking at its art. If you have never been exposed to the art of Islam before, this incredible, beautiful art is about to teach you something new.