Presentation on theme: "The Alhambra: A Medieval Royal Palace in an Era of Regional Power Centers."— Presentation transcript:
The Alhambra: A Medieval Royal Palace in an Era of Regional Power Centers
I. Design and plan of the medieval court-centered palace The Alhambra, Granada, Spain, 13 th -14 th century
Nasrid dynasty: 1238-1492 End of Umayyad caliphate in Spain in 1031 left smaller dynasties to fill the power vacuum. I. Umayyad dynasty, 711-1031Spain 1031-1238
public reception invited guests Yusuf I celebratory palace for Muhammed V (self-fashioned Solomon) 1333-54 1369-91 1238-99 Comares PalaceRiyad Palace I.
The Alhambra I. non-axial communication between complexes
The Alhambra I. A. What typologies does the location and plan of the Alhambra draw on 1. for the position of the Alhambra vs. the city of Grenada?
The Mexuar I. B. Establishing the idea of order 1. How is the idea of order established by ornament in the council chamber (Mexuar) of the palace? geometric tile base muqarnas bracket stucco panels I. B. 2. What is the nature of the basic structural element established in the Mexuar? column domed center
II. The Comares Palace, 1333-54: the Sultan’s domain A. The Court of the Myrtles: courtyard design II. A. 1. What role does water perform here as an architectural element? 36.6 m (120') x 23.5 m (77') Comares Palace: Court of the Myrtles (north side)
II. B. Throne room suite in the Comares Palace Comares Palace: Court of the Myrtles 1. Basic Mediterranean compositional unit: portico, long hall, square hall
Court of the Myrtles: Portico Ends or resolves in niches II. B. 3. How are the axes resolved in the long units?II. B. 2. What basic structural element returns in the north and south portico? exaggerated impost block slender column design casts structural role into doubt
Comares Palace: Long hall (“Sala de la Barca”) II. B. 4. What is the basic elevation treatment in the Long Hall? niche at ends of long hall vaulted ceiling of long hall
Comares Palace: square hall Throne Room (“Hall of the Ambassadors”) II. B. 5. What is the basic elevation in the Throne Room?
Alhambra: Figure/ground ambiguity Greco-Roman Classicism: Figure/ground clarity II. B. 5.
Comares Palace: Square hall Throne Room (“Hall of the Ambassadors”) II. B. 5. “He has chosen me as the throne of his rule; may his eminence be helped by the Lord of light, of the divine throne and see.”
Square hall, the Throne Room (“Hall of the Ambassadors”) II. B. 6. Political symbolism: how does the sultan in the throne room appear in his full power both in this life and in the life to come?
Riyad Palace: Court of the Lions III. Riyad Palace, 1361-91: A second, triumphal sultan’s residence A. The Court of the Lions: courtyard design in the 14 th century 28.5 m (93') x 15.5 m (50') Muhammed V’s victory in Algeciras (paradise garden courtyard) III. A. 1. Water: What is the architectural role and the symbolism of water here?
III. A. 2. How is power expressed as holding the most delicate forces in balance: a. in the portico elevation? Riyad Palace: Court of the Lions no end to the monument’s directions
IV. A. 2. b. in the columns of the Court of the Lion? Riyad Palace: Court of the LionsComares Palace: Court of the Myrtles
The east corridor of the Court of the Lions III. A. 3. How is monumentality expressed in modest size spaces (e.g., in the east corridor)?
Riyad Palace: north hall (“Hall of Two Sisters”) III. B. North Hall and South Hall in the Riyad Palace portico domed square hall long hall 1. How is the basic compositional unit present and reversed? Hall of Two Sisters mirador alcove
Riyad Palace: South hall (“Hall of the Abencerrajes”) III. B. 1.
III. B. 2. What is the symbolism of the muqarnas vaults? Riyad Palace: north hall Riyad Palace: south hall Comares Palace: throne room Nero’s Domus Aurea maqsura in the Great Mosque at Cordoba
III. B. 3. What message is conveyed by the use of fragile stucco in the Riyad Palace? Riyad Palace Redundant inscriptions: “Benediction” “There is no victorious one but God” “Power is to God” Etc. etc. God is the only permanent existence
Quiz Question: Where were Arab architects of the later Middle Ages looking for alternative sources of architectural authority (ancient or contemporary) other than classical antiquity? Name at least one example in the Madrasa of Sultan Hasan and one in the Alhambra.