Gülru Necipoğlu

Gülru Necipoğlu

Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art
Gülru Necipoğlu
  • Region(s): Mediterranean World; Islamic World
  • Time Period(s): 16th century; 17th century; 18th century
  • Theme(s): Islamic Art and Architecture; History of Empire; Aesthetics


Gülru Necipoğlu has been the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture since 1993 at Harvard University’s History of Art and Architecture Department, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1986. She specializes in the arts and architecture of the pre-modern Islamic world, with a focus on the Mediterranean and the eastern Islamic lands. She is interested in questions of aesthetic cosmopolitanism, transregional connectivity between early modern Islamicate empires (Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal), and cross-cultural artistic exchanges with Byzantium and Renaissance/Baroque Europe. Her studies have also addressed architectural practice, plans and drawings, aesthetics of abstraction and geometric design. Her critical concerns encompass methodological and historiographical issues in modern constructions of the field of Islamic art.

Professor Necipoğlu edits the journal Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World (Brill) and its Supplements. Her books include: Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: The Topkapı Palace (1991); The Topkapı Scroll–Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995); The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005, 2011). She recently edited the following volumes: The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures (2017); A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, in the Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History (coeditor F. Barry Flood, 2017); and Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (coeditor Alina Payne, 2016).

Professor Necipoğlu 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.

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