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History of Aesthetics in Arab Thought 

October 02, 20187:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In Spanish.

This Tuesday, October 2 in Madrid, Casa Árabe and the University of Granada Publishing House are presenting this new edition of the compendium created by Professor José Miguel Puerta Vílchez.

The event will be attended by the author, by Maribel Cabrera García, director of the University of Granada Publishing House, and a professor in the Department of Art History at that University, and Ana Martínez de Aguilar, an independent curator. It will be presented by Pedro Martínez-Avial, the General Director of Casa Árabe.

In mid-2018, the highly awaited new edition of this work came to light, as ambitious as it is essential. Its author, Professor Jose Miguel Puerta Vílchez, is one of the greatest world experts on art and Islamic thought. For this presentation at Casa Árabe, and with the objective of allowing art historians, curators, philosophers, etc. who work outside of the field of Arab Studies to get a closer look, we will be relying on the priceless assistance of Ana Martínez de Aguilar, with whom the author will be holding a dialogue over the work.

Since it was published by the Akal publishing firm in 1997, this work has been a point of reference for both art historians and historians of philosophy, as well as Arabists. Unavailable for years now, it is now being published once again in a carefully prepared edition that has been proofread, updated and expanded by the publishing house of the University of Granada and the Alhambra and Generalife Board of Trustees. Inside readers will find a detailed analysis of Arab discourses on beauty, the arts and aesthetic perception from the pre-Islamic era and times of the Qur’an (seventh century) to the poems of the Alhambra (fourteenth century), with a special emphasis on thinkers of the stature of Ibn Ḥazm, Ibn Bayya, Ibn Ṭufayl, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Arabi and Ibn Khaldun, as well as others from Al-Andalus, in addition to the Brethren of Purity, al-Tawḥidi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ibn al-Hayṯam and al-Ghazali, from the East. Similarly, the author translates, examines and compares texts of aesthetic significance, ranging from the poetic legacy, belles lettres and historical prose to calligraphic, musical, literary and erotic treatises. The interest aroused by this work, above all in the English-speaking world, led to its recent translation into English, published by the prestigious publishing firm Brill (translation by Consuelo Leiden-Morillas, Leiden-Boston, 2017).

José Miguel Puerta Vílchez
With a PhD in Arabic Philology, Puerta Vílchez is a tenured professor with the Department of Art History at the University of Granada, and is also the author of  Los códigos de utopía de la Alhambra de Granada (The Codes of Utopia in the Alhambra of Granada, 1990), La aventura del cálamo. Historia, formas y artistas de la caligrafía árabe (The Adventure of the Reed Pen: History, forms and artists in Arabic calligraphy, 2007), Leer la Alhambra. Guía visual del Monumento a través de sus inscripciones (Reading the Alhambra: A visual guide to the monument through its inscriptions, 2010, second edition 2015), La poética del agua en el islam (The Poetics of Water in Islam, 2011), El sentido artístico de Qurtuba (The Artistic Sense of Qurtuba) (2015) and Un asceta en la corte nazarí (An Aesthete in the Nasrid Court, 2016). He has also been a co-director and writer for the Biblioteca de al-Andalus (Al-Andalus Library, 9 vols., 2004–2012).

Ana Martínez de Aguilar
Martínez de Aguilar is an independent curator with a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She has held numerous exhibitions, the latest on Iranian artist Farideh Lashai and her relationship with Goya’s “Disasters of War,” at the Prado Museum in   2017. She was the director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía  (MNCARS) from 2004 through 2007; director of the Esteban Vicente Contemporary Art Museum in Segovia since it was conceived in 1997 and opened in 1998 and up to 2015, except during her years at the helm of MNCARS; director of the Cervantes Institute Patronage Area from 1994 to 1997; advisor to the Minister of Culture, assigned to the section for management of the Prado Museum, working at that gallery from 1993 to 1994, and the Secretary General of the Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation from 1987 to 1993.
History of Aesthetics in Arab Thought