(Moorish style), the name given to the medieval art that developed in the 11th through 15th centuries in North Africa and southern Spain.
Moorish art, a blending of the traditions of the Arabian Caliphate, the Berbers, and the Visigoths, was not homogeneous. Developing in different ways in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Arab Spain (Hispano-Moresque art), it underwent a complex evolution from clear tectonic forms, often emphasized by restrained decoration (Great Mosque in Algiers), to the dissolution of forms in lavish ornamentation (Alhambra). Typical of Moorish art are mosques with multinave prayer halls opening onto inner courtyards, square minarets, and picturesquely laid out palaces. Both religious and secular structures employ pointed horseshoe and scalloped arches, stalactite domes, friezes, cornices, artesonado, stucco and wood wall carvings, columns faced with tiles, ceramic and glass mosaics, stained-glass windows, and colored marble. Both buildings and applied art objects have elaborate ornamentation saturated with floral, geometric, and epigraphic motifs, for example, the 14th-century faience Fortuny Vase, found in the Alhambra and now displayed in the Hermitage in Leningrad.
REFERENCESVseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 8. Moscow, 1969.
Marçais, G. L’Architecture musulmane d’Occident. Paris, 1954.