Director of the Aga Khan Program of Islamic Architecture, Department of the History of Art and Architecture
Gülru Necipoğlu has been Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University since 1993 where she earned her PhD in 1986. She specializes in the medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Islamic lands. She is the editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World and Supplements to Muqarnas. Her books include Architecture, Ceremonial, and Power: The Topkapi Palace (1991); The Topkapi Scroll, Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995); and The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005). Her Topkapi Scroll won the Albert Hourani and the Spiro Kostoff book awards. The Age of Sinan has been awarded the Fuat Köprülü Book Prize. She is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Archittettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza. Her articles include interpretations of monuments such as the Dome of the Rock, Suleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace; Ottoman visual culture; comparative studies on the three early modern Islamic empires (Safavid, Mughal, Ottoman); and artistic exchanges between Byzantium, Renaissance Italy, and the Islamic lands. Her publications also address questions of pre-modern architectural practice, plans and drawings, and the aesthetics of abstract ornament and geometric design. Her critical interests encompass methodological and historiographical issues in modern constructions of the field of Islamic art.
She recently edited the following four books: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4), co-edited with Cemal Kafadar and Cornell H. Fleischer (Muqarnas Supplements, vol. 14, 2019); A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, coedited with Finbarr Barry Flood, a two volume reader of more than 50 commissioned essays in the “Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History” series (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017); The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on of Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures, in the Supplements to Muqarnas series, (Brill, 2017); and Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local, coedited with Alina Payne (Princeton University Press, 2016).
Her edited book, The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures, was a winner of the “26th World Award for Book of the Year” of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Book Award Secretariat. It was selected as one of the best new works in the field of Islamic / Iranian Studies, and the Award Ceremony was held in Tehran on February 5, 2019.
She was recently invited to deliver the following lectures:
"Cosmopolitan Aesthetics of Empire: Arts, Politics, and Commerce in the Construction of Sultan Süleyman's Magnificence," Annual Indian Economic and Social History Association Lecture, Delhi University, 20 December, 2018.
"Recent Trends in the Historiography of the Early Modern Islamic Empires," workshop in conversation with Cemal Kafadar and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, sponsored by The Indian Economic and Social History Association, and The Centre for Advanced Studies in History of Delhi University, 21 December, 2018.
“Transregional Connections: Architecture and the Construction of Early Modern Islamic Empires,” Leon B. Poullada Memorial Lecture Series, Princeton University, The Institute for Transregional Studies and Program in Near Eastern Studies, a series of three lectures delivered November 26, 27 & 28, 2018.