De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands
11 December 2010 - 17 April 2011
From Paris, The Arts of Islam exhibition travelled to Amsterdam, where it was shown at De Nieuwe Kerk under its new title, Passion for Perfection. The change of name reflected the desire of the organizers to highlight the refinement and grandeur of Islamic art, and the sustained effort by Muslim artists over the centuries to achieve perfect craftsmanship. As such, the display, which was designed by Siebe Tettero, veered away from any chronological or geographical groupings. It was divided instead into eight themes that focused on the beauty of Islamic art: the masterly expression of peoples who have been joined by Islam for more than 1400 years.
‘Fine Pencraft’ was devoted to the importance of calligraphy in Islamic art, especially as the means of copying the holy Qur’an. ‘Delicate Painting’ demonstrated the skills of the Muslim painters through some exquisite examples of manuscript illustration. While ‘Sumptuous Decoration’ explored the love of ornamentation which is at the heart of Islamic art, ‘Storing in Style’ and ‘Dazzling Dishes’ revealed that even objects made for everyday use were beautifully decorated. The displays entitled ‘Splendind Garments’ and ‘Glittering Gems’ illustrated the richness of personal adornment. Finally, ‘Chic Applications’ showed how same attention to excellence of craftsmanship and harmonious decoration was applied to a variety of specialized instruments and utensils.