AP Art History : Answering other questions about architecture in global Islamic traditions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Art History

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Example Questions

Example Question #6 : Architecture In Global Islamic Traditions

The spread of Islamic architectural styles that followed the spread of Islam can be seen in ______________.

Possible Answers:

the development of ziggurats in Mesopotamia 

the use of elaborate designs across Europe

the use of pointed arches in buildings found in France

None of the answers are correct

the arabesque designs used to decorate the Alhambra in Spain

Correct answer:

the arabesque designs used to decorate the Alhambra in Spain

Explanation:

The influence of Islamic art and architecture can easily be found in Spain, which had Muslim rulers for over 700 years. Thus, the Alhambra and its arabesques is the best choice. Ziggurats predate Islam, pointed arches can't be traced back just to an Islamic influence, and "elaborate designs" is too vague to be correct. 

Example Question #1 : Answering Other Questions About Architecture In Global Islamic Traditions

Which of the given movements, with its roots in Egypt, had a strictly decorative aesthetic that provided a pre-cursing framework for the ornamental nature of Islamic Art?

Possible Answers:

Abassid brickwork

Gothic Architecture

Byzantine Architecture

Coptic Christian Art

Correct answer:

Coptic Christian Art

Explanation:

Coptic art emerged out of Egypt as a product of anti-iconic Christian tendencies. During this period, there was much debate in the emerging Christian church as to whether or not iconography would be permissible in Christian art. The Coptic tradition sided against depictions of the divine, laying the framework for the Islamic style which forbids images of the Prophet as blasphemous. This question challenges students to understand how art history, like history itself, is not a simply defined series of movements, but instead the product of cultural assimilation and synthesis, with complicated politics of power and philosophy that evolve styles and root themselves in meaning and belief.

Example Question #211 : Architecture

What cultural phenomenon is responsible for the seventh century revolution of art in the region Art Historians refer to as the Near East, creating a unity of theme amongst cultures amidst a diversity of styles, rulers, and peoples?

Possible Answers:

The Christianization of Rome

The conquests of Alexander the Great

The division of Alexander the Great's Empire following his death

The Conquest if Islam

Correct answer:

The Conquest if Islam

Explanation:

The Islamification of nearly the entire region created a common theme and mission, namely the construction of mosques. With this came a movement away from idolatry in lieu of the complex lattice work that ornaments many mosques. Thus, across an entire region, we see commonalities created by the recurring theme of Islam, and the aesthetics that accompany it, juxtaposed with the individual traditions upon which the religion was lain. This question tests a student's ability to frame a movement within the larger picture of history, while recognizing how cultural revolutions create both larger communities and individual differences with and between aesthetic traditions. 

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