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Re-envisioning the Alhambra: Readings of architecture and ornament from medieval to modern

Eggleton, Lara Eve (2011) Re-envisioning the Alhambra: Readings of architecture and ornament from medieval to modern. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The Alhambra, a medieval Islamic palatine city located in Granada, Spain, is examined in this thesis as the product of material transformations and changing visual perceptions over time. Selected areas of the Nasrid palatial complex (1238-1492) are explored within the context of their production, their later alterations under Christian rule, and in relation to the interpretations of British travellers, historians, designers and enthusiasts throughout the long nineteenth century. Through the formation of individual and collective identities, responses to cultural difference, and an active engagement with the past, the Alhambra grew to become a commemorative monument of multiple and interrelated histories. In addressing the overlapping structural and ornamental layers which make up its form, this study challenges the historiographic limitations of categories such as 'medieval' and 'modern', as well as formal categories such as 'ornament' and 'architecture', which render some art histories more visible than others. A series of case studies examine the conditions that allowed for its reshaping, and the variety of ways its hybrid spaces have been re-envisioned. Chapters one and two focus on the visual manifestations of political agendas across both Muslim and Christian periods of rule, and challenge the application of binary models of influence and conflict to the periods leading up to and following the conquest of Granada in 1492. Subsequent chapters address nineteenth-century perspectives, revealing the perceptual frameworks that informed different impressions of the monument for popular and critical audiences. Descriptions and representations are discussed in accordance with Romantic visualising tropes such as the Gothic and the Sublime, and the Alhambra is situated within debates over national identity and technological progress during the Great Exhibitions of the mid-century. The Alhambra is thus understood both in terms of its cumulative value, and its individual layers of meaning that belong to plural histories and trajectories of influence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-115-3
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.541063
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2011 14:25
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1736

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