Book Review: Islamic Art and Architecture – Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces

Islamic Art and Architecture – Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces

by Kenan Šurković, Art Historian

A colourful and interesting insight into the selected architecture from Seljuk and Ottoman era.

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Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

The book ‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ is an overview of the most important Seljuk and Ottoman monuments. Designed in a unique way, the book presents a colourful and interesting insight into architecture, from the perspective of art as well as history. The beautiful illustrations, created by Laurelie Rae, the artist and author, show her impressions of specific architectural and decorative elements, her interest in details of craftsmanship, that one must see in person, as they are not so obvious on the photographs. With compelling text Rae shares her story and experience on her journey through the ancient land of the Seljuks and Ottomans.

Laurelie Rae invites you “to open your heart, your eyes, your ears and nose. Allow yourself to become immersed in the culture. Imagine those who lived before us in these places. Feel the ground, touch the walls, and witness the beauty created and left behind for your eyes to see. Let the architecture envelop you and allow it to transport you on a journey through time into the hearts and hands of craftsman. Smell the fresh coffee, ground so fine it has become a powder and rests as a thick layer at the bottom of your finjan.”

The journey starts with the story of Hagia Sofia, the Christian church that later became a mosque. Although originally not an Islamic architecture, it had a significant influence on the development of Ottoman architecture.

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

From Seljuk monuments, Rae highlights the monuments from Konya, such as Alaeddin Mosque Complex, Sahip Ata Mosque Complex, Karatay Madrasa and Ince Minareli Madrasa. She presents Seljuk monuments also from Sivas, like Devrigi Grand Mosque, Gok (Blue) madrasa and Cifte Minareli Madrasa, among others.

Presenting early Ottoman architecture, Laurelie Rae, takes us to Iznik, Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul. Next to illustrations, the monuments are presented with photographs. In this chapter we can learn more about the Ulu Grand Mosque and the Yesil (Green) Mosque, both located in Bursa; several monuments from Edirne, such as the Eski (Old) Mosque, and the famous Uc Serefli Mosque which is important for the profound effect it had on the development of early Istanbul and classical period of Ottoman architecture.

In the last chapter of the book Rae presents Masterpieces of the Ottoman Empire, amazing monuments from the classical period of Ottoman architecture, such as the Suleymaniye Mosque complex, the Rustem Pasha Mosque, the Selimiye Mosque complex, the Sultanahmet Mosque complex (Blue Mosque), the Shehzade Mosque complex, etc.

Highlights from the Book:

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

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‘Islamic Art and Architecture, Memories of Seljuk and Ottoman Masterpieces’ by Laurelie Rae / Photo of the Book by Islamic Arts Magazine

Laurelie Rae

Laurelie Rae is a Canadian Muslim visual artist with a passion for architecture and ornamentation. She is currently an M.A. candidate at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in Central London where she is researching the traditional techniques of Islamic Arts. In Montreal she focused on Drawing, Painting and Art History, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Concordia University in 2011. Lead by her love for architecture, patterns and geometry she moved to Istanbul in 2013 to pursue her research while studying the traditional Iznik ceramics process which she continues today. She hopes to use art as a catalyst for tolerance and acceptance between cultures while sharing the vast beauties of Islamic Art and Architecture.

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