Gold harmony

Gold texture and Arabic inspired mosaics (eight branches stars) in the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily.

The architecture of the Cathedral of Monreale (Sicily) is called “Arab-Norman”. It was built in the XIIth century (1172) during the Norman domination of the sicily (11-12th centuries). The Normans conquered Sicily and defeated Arabian in the 11th century. In the 10th century, the Arabian conquered Sicily, which was until then dominated by the Byzantine Empire.

Educated, open minded and tolerant, King Guillaume II of Sicily (1166-1189) appreciated culture and arts of North Africa and Middle East. He was called “Guillaume the good” and was the son of “Guillaume the bad” and the grand son of King Roger II. They all belonged to the Hauteville dynasty. Guillaume II was the last Norman King in Sicily. He is depicted in the gold mosaics in the Catherine of Monreale.

King Guillaume II employed the best Arabian and Byzantine artisans to built and decorate the Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily. The result is an unique architecture mixing several cultures and arts (Byzantine and Arabian) ; this style is called “Arab-Norman”. Another example of the Arab-Norman architecture un Sicily is the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace in Palermo, Sicily.

The Arabian art and culture are present in the Cathedral of Monreale namely with geometric mosaics (height branches stars, stars, polygons…). We see also the influence of the Byzantine art through the gold mosaics depicting biblical scenes, religious figures, Saints… The King of Sicily, Guillaume 2 is portrayed in gold mosaics in the Cathedral of Monreale.

More photos (taken by me) of Arabian inspired mosaics (eight branches stars) in Monreale, Sicily :

Another version :

Sources : thethinkingtraveller and universalis

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