Evening lecture

Lorenz Korn: The Imperial Fountain in Istanbul – Object of Transfer in Historicism and Diplomacy

Organized by the Max-Planck-Research Group "Objects in the Contact Zone – The cross-cultural Lives of Things"

The fountain on the Hippodrome (At Meydanı) in Istanbul, built at the order of the German emperor Wilhelm II., is, in the present perception, frequently ridiculed as a by-product of colonialism. Indeed does the history of its planning and inauguration throw some light on the political relationship between Germany and the Ottoman Empire before World War I. Besides, the fountain is apt to indicate the part that the arts played in this relationship, how the urban history of Constantinople was perceived, and under which conditions an object could be inserted into its topography of historical monuments. This way, it is possible to follow an exemplary process of negotiation between cultures, in which numerous protagonists participated.


Lorenz Korn is an art historian and archaeologist of the Islamic world. Trained as an islamologist and historian of Islamic art at the Universities of Tübingen and Oxford, he received his PhD in Tübingen in 1999, with a dissertation on architecture and building politics of the Ayyubids (Egypt and Syria, 12th-13 cent.). After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, he worked in various research projects on the cultural history, art and archaeology of Islam. Since 2003, he is full professor of Islamic Art and Archaeology at the University of Bamberg. His research focuses on the architecture of the central Islamic lands between the 10th and 16th centuries, Islamic minor arts such as metalwork, and Arabic epigraphy. His recent publications include articles and books on the architecture of the mosque and on artistic exchange between Europe and the Islamic World.

01 March 2016, 6:00pm

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz

Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51
50122 Firenze


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