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Art History and Archaeology of the Christian and Islamic Middle East


Admission requirements

The course is accessible to MA students with a relevant background (e.g.
in art history, archaeology, history, theology, Islamic studies, and Arabic studies).


This tutorial presents an overview of the art and architecture of the various Christian communities in the Middle East, mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, from the third century up till the present. Art objects such as wall paintings, icons and sculpture will be examined not only with regard to style and iconography, but also within the framework of the religious architecture and the ritual in which they function. Additional attention will be devoted to the historical context as well as to the interaction with Late Antique, Islamic and European art.
Students may choose to write a paper for additional 5 ECTS
Teaching materials: publications and PowerPoint presentations.

Course objectives

  • Insight in the development of Middle Eastern Christian art and architecture through the ages.

  • Skills to distinguish this art in terms of chronology, history and regional development.

  • Knowledge to place this art in the context of its original application.



Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

  • 10 EC: 280 hours

  • College: 24 hours

  • Reading: 116 hours

  • Paper: 140 hours

Assessment method




Reading list

  • R. Hillenbrand, Islamic Art and Architecture, London 1999.

  • Immerzeel, M., ‘Proskynetaria from Jerusalem: Souvenirs of a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land’, Series Byzantina 3 (2005), 9-24 (15 pp).

  • Immerzeel, M., Identity Puzzles. Medieval Christian Art in Syria and Lebanon, Leuven 2009 (325 pp).

  • Immerzeel, M., A. Jeudy, B. Snelders, ‘A Mixed Company of Syrians, Saracens and Greeks. Artistic interaction in Middle Eastern Christian art in the Middle Ages’, in: D. Knipp (ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference ‘Siculo-Arabic Ivories and Islamic Painting 1100-1300, Pergamonmuseum, Berlin 6-8 July 2007’, Rome, forthcoming (34 pp).

  • Peers, G., ‘The Church at the Jerusalem Gate in Crusader Ascalon: A Rough Tolerance of Byzantine Culture?’, ECA 6 (2009), 67-86 (20 pp)


Enroll via uSis


“Dhr. Dr. M. Immerzeel’