Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU School of the Arts

Jonathan Bloom

Hamad bin Khalifa Chair of Islamic Art

Drs. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, who also share the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professorship of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College, are two of the world’s leading scholars on all aspects of Islamic art and architecture. The Khalifa Chair offers graduate level courses in Islamic art and architecture, as well as occasional lectures on Islamic art presented in Richmond and in Doha, Qatar, where VCUarts operates a branch campus. In their role as co-chairs, Drs. Blair and Bloom also oversee the organization of the Hamad Bin Khalifa International Symposia on Islamic Art. The first symposium, “Expanding Frontiers,” was held in Richmond in 2004, and the second, “Rivers of Paradise,” was held at VCUQatar in the fall of 2007. It focused on the role of water in Islamic art and culture and brought together a dozen experts on Islamic art from around the world. The proceedings of the symposium will be published in 2009 by Yale University Press. The third symposium, “Diverse are their Hues,” focusing on color in Islamic art and culture, is to be held in Cordoba, Spain, in November 2009. The Hamad bin Khalifa Chair in Islamic Art is generously endowed by a gift from His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. Drs. Blair and Bloom each hold a Ph.D. in Fine Arts and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University.

Selected Publications:

Arts of the City Victorious: Islamic Art and Architecture in Fatimid North Africa and Egypt. London. Yale University Press in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007.

The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture, 3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Cosmophilia: Islamic Art from the David Collection, Copenhagen. Chestnut Hill, MA. McMullen Museum of Art, 2006


Virginia Commonwealth University
School of the Arts
Department of Art History
VCU School of the Arts
922 W. Franklin
P.O. Box 843046
Richmond, VA 23284-3046


Phone: 804.828.2784
Fax: 804.828.7468
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