Ottoman Art and Architecture (14th-17th centuries)

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

This course examines the artistic and architectural production of the early and "classical" periods of the Ottoman Empire, covering the period of rise and expansion, the conquest of Constantinople, and the great conjunction of the rule of Sultan Suleyman and his chief architect, Sinan. The course will examine the rise of an Ottoman dynastic style that covered a wide variety of media, and examine the way that the Ottomans incorporated and changed the artistic traditions of Byzantium, the Timurids, the Safavids, the Mamluks, the Venetians, and other dynasties and cultures with which they came in to contact, and often conflict.
This course will also look at patronage as a key element to understanding the shaping and development of Ottoman artistic traditions, focusing on such great patrons of the arts as Sultan Mehmet II "the Conqueror" and Sultan Suleyman "the Magnificent. In addition, it will look at social developments like dervish orders and the organisation of the religious elite and the palace as  impacting artistic and architectural developments. Another concern of the course is urbanism: it will examine the ways in which the three Ottoman capitals of Bursa, Edirne, and Istanbul/Constantinople transformed these former Byzantine cities into  thriving imperial and commercial centres. Special attention will be paid to the transformation and development of Istanbul.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

LO1. Identify the major monuments and works of art of early and high Ottoman art and architecture.
LO2. Demonstrate awareness of the role patronage, court, military, and religious organisation play in shaping artistic and architectural developments.
LO3. Be aware of a variety of approaches to the study of Ottoman art and architecture.
LO4. Understand the place of Ottoman art and architecture not onlly in Islamic art, but also Mediterranean art of the early modern period.


  • One 2,100-2,300 word essay - 40%
  • One two hour exam - 60%

Scope and syllabus

Week 1: Introduction: Anatolia in the 14th Century
Week 2: Early Ottoman Capitals I: Bursa
Week 3: Early Ottoman Capitals II: Edirne
Week 4: Constantinople & Sultan Mehmet “the Conqueror”.
Week 5: Ottoman Art & Architecture in the later 15th and early 16th centuries
Week 7: The Reign of Süleyman the Magnificent & Sinan I
Week 8: The Reign of Süleyman the Magnificent & Sinan II
Week 9: Ottoman Ceramics and Tiles
Week 10: Ottoman Textiles & other “Minor Arts”
Week 11: Trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum


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