Title page for ETD etd-04142009-221615

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Foret, Amanda Sharon
URN etd-04142009-221615
Title Reflections on Pleasure: The Fourteenth-Century Alhambra
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Camerlenghi, Nicola Committee Chair
Mauck, Marchita Committee Member
Zucker, Mark Committee Member
  • Alhambra
  • Islamic Spain
  • Nasrid Granada
  • Palace of the Lions
  • Comares Palace
Date of Defense 2009-04-13
Availability unrestricted
The Nasrids were the last Islamic power on the Iberian Peninsula. They created a place of luxury and wealth in their hilltop fortress, the Alhambra, which is one of the best-preserved examples of medieval Islamic palace architecture. It was transformed in the thirteenth century into a palace-city and during most of its early history housed the most important figure in an Islamic society, the sultan. The Alhambra displays bare, natural elements on the exterior, while the interior mimics and references these natural elements in a grander fashion with gardens, fountains, beautiful vistas, sculpted porticos and lavish rooms. These interior spaces were settings for the sultan to display his wealth and power. In this thesis, I explore a selection of sites in the Alhambra by examining how decoration, courtyard gardens, water, and patronage reflect medieval Islamic notions of pleasure.

Following the introduction, each chapter is focused on a specific place within the Alhambra: the Palace of the Lions, the Comares Palace, and the Royal Bath. All have survived relatively intact and date primarily to the fourteenth century. In order to best discuss pleasure, each chapter includes a discussion of building layout, decoration, gardens and the role of water, and patronage. Each section is discussed in relation to pleasure and will investigate the means by which the spaces provide pleasure.

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