Matthew Saba

Apr 2017

Professor Saba taught a great survey of Islamic art, touching on the foremost exemplars of the Islamic artistic tradition ranging from calligraphy to architecture and textiles. A background in Islamic art isn't necessary to do well in this course, and it serves as a nice introduction if you want to build a foundation in the area to take more advanced classes later on. The class size was fairly small, which allowed for a lecture-leading-into-discussion format that I really appreciated. Definitely a welcome change from a typical art history lecture, and I felt I got more out of it by engaging with classmates directly in almost every class. The class is object-oriented, meaning that you'll be viewing a selection of specific objects and discussing their qualities and context. Note that for this particular class, the majority of the objects studied were architectural, i.e. lots of mosque architecture. There was a fair amount of calligraphy and some precious objects such as crystal and ceramic wares, but these were not the focus, so do be aware of that if those are your areas of interest. The TA, also named Matthew, was really wonderful as well and led a few of the lectures. Both he and Professor Saba were easily accessible and were very fair in grading. Would highly recommend this course to those wishing to get a taste of Islamic art.