Professors Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair (Boston College), Professor Walter B. Denny (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Artstor announced today that they had reached an agreement to collaborate on the distribution through Artstor of up to 25,000 high quality digital images of the art and architecture of Islam from the personal archives of this team of leading scholar photographers.

Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair jointly hold the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship of Islamic and Asian Art. Jonathan Bloom’s primary areas of research include Islamic art and architecture, the history of paper, and art in the medieval Mediterranean world. Sheila Blair’s major areas of research are Islamic art, especially the arts of Iran and Central Asia, the art and architecture produced under the Mongols, calligraphy and books. In addition to specialized courses on various aspects of Islamic art and architecture ranging from the history of Jerusalem to the Silk Road, they team-teach a survey course on Islamic civilization. They are at work on an exhibition of Islamic ornament to be held in 2006 at the McMullen Museum at Boston College.

Walter B. Denny’s primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art. In addition to teaching a two-semester survey sequence on Islamic art and architecture, Professor Denny has taught a large undergraduate topical survey course, Introduction to the Visual Arts, every fall for more than three decades. His upper-level courses have focused on various aspects of Islamic and European art, including an historical survey of the art of the oriental carpet, and a course on orientalism in Western art.

In reaching this agreement, Walter B. Denny said, “This will be a marvelous opportunity to share a substantial portion of the over 140,000 images I have accumulated in my archive over 40 years. I anticipate that the availability of these resources through Artstor will make it significantly easier for courses on Islamic art to be offered in institutions throughout the world.” James Shulman, Executive Director of Artstor, commented: “The archives of our collaborators on this important project are renowned among Islamicists, and represent an enormous opportunity for Artstor to provide wide-access to their unique archives. Sheila, Jonathan, and Walter know how difficult it is to build resources in their field, and we at Artstor have great admiration for all that they have accomplished. We are thrilled that they want to join in our effort to make such resources widely available for the community of teachers, scholars, and students.”

Artstor’s the three scholarly partners are long-standing colleagues and friends. They all contributed chapters to Islamic Art and Patronage, the catalogue accompanying a traveling exhibition of Islamic art from Kuwait collections. In the early 1990s they all worked together on the critically-acclaimed exhibition and catalogue, Images of Paradise in Islamic Art, which was also seen at museums around the country.

Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair have co-authored several books, including: Islam: A Thousand Years of Power and Faith (2000); Islamic Arts (1997); and The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250-1800 (Yale University Press Pelican History of Art; 1994). Jonathan Bloom’s other major publications include: Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World (2001) (winner of the Charles Rufus Morey Award of the College Art Association); Early Islamic Art and Architecture (2002); and Minaret: Symbol of Islam (Oxford Studies in Islamic Art; 1989). He is currently at work on a book-length study of the art and architecture of North Africa and Egypt produced under the Fatimid dynasty between the tenth century and the twelfth.

Sheila Blair’s other major publications include ten books and more than 200 articles in journals, encyclopedias, colloquia and festschriften. Her books include: Islamic Inscriptions (1998) (winner of the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize for the best book on Middle Eastern studies published in Britain); A Compendium of Chronicles: Rashid al-Din’s Illustrated History of the World (The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art; 1995) (winner of the Bahari Prize for the best book on Persian civilization); and Islamic Calligraphy (due out next year from Edinburgh University Press).

Walter B. Denny’s recent publications include the books Gardens of Paradise: Ottoman Turkish Tiles of the 15th-17th Centuries (1998); Masterpieces of Anatolian Carpets from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul (2001); Ipek: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (2002); and The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets (2002). Iznik and the Ottoman Tradition is scheduled for publication in 2004 in Paris (Editions Citadelles et Mazenod). Other current projects include catalogues for two major collections of Islamic art, and a number of articles on Ottoman art and orientalism.