Italy and the Islamic World: 1300–1700

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Discover the rich, complex and sometimes surprising story of interaction between Italy and the Islamic world. Explore the luxury goods imported to Italy and the inspiration they offered to Italian artists…


  • Learn from our world-class experts wherever, whenever: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time.

  • Time to explore: 12 hours of lectures over six weeks.

  • Consolidate your learning: download lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials from our secure Microsoft Teams learning environment.

  • Join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

  • Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials are available for six weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a minute.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli

Course Leader
Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli

Dr Antonia Gatward Cevizli is an art historian specialising in cultural exchange between Italy and the Ottomans. She has lectured for Sabancı University, Istanbul; Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the National Gallery, the V&A Academy and the Courtauld Summer School.

V&A courses are such a find! Amazing course. Thank you! Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

Italy and the Islamic world may conjure up ideas of hostility and confrontation. The reality, however, is far more complex. The Venetian ambassador to the Ottomans wrote in 1553 ‘Being merchants, we cannot live without them’. Glassblowers on Murano were producing mosque lamps while carpets made in Anatolia were gracing the sanctuaries of churches. Pseudo Arabic script adorned the haloes in paintings of the Virgin Mary and the Ottoman sultan’s image was immortalised by Gentile Bellini. This is a story of trade and diplomacy that highlights the connectivity of the Mediterranean and beyond. We will explore a variety of Italian states and their trading partners: the Mamluks, the Ottomans and the Safavids. We will examine the kinds of goods entering Italy from different regions of the Islamic world and trace their presence and reception through their appearance in Italian paintings. These goods were highly esteemed and we will see the major impact that they had on Italian decorative arts. This course offers a unique perspective on this interaction by engaging both with Italian art and that of its neighbours in the Islamic World.

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Online course: Italy and the Islamic World: 1300–1700

24 February 2023 - 31 March 2023

£120.00

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+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)