Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar,– I.M. Pei’s symphony of geometric light and shadow.

The gem of Qatar is the Museum of Islamic Art, with pieces from the time of Mohammad to the beginning of the 21st century.  The building, by American Architect I.M. Pei, is designed to allow for the play of sun and shadow on both the outside and inside the atrium.  Natural light plays against structural forms, floor patterns, winding staircases, balconies and light fixtures to create massive geometric patterns that move with the sun and complement the micro geometric patterns common in Islamic art.  In this building you can get lost in yourself, the art and perhaps infinity.

Having lived in Europe I am struck by how old things are.  Looking at art in the Islamic Museum it strikes me how relatively young Islam is.  Art and artifacts in museums in Istanbul, Belgrade or Bratislava, and Tbilisi are much older.  They show old Celtic, Greek and Roman secular artifacts and religious art reflecting Jewish, early Christian and pagan traditions.  Islamic art seems much “cleaner” to me.  It has cleaner lines, pleasing geometric patterns and no suffering saints being killed in the most gruesome manners.  A description of this museum in the Economist convinced us to come here rather than neighboring Bahrain.

This is from a letter from 2011.  Zoom in on the map above and get a great areal photo of the museum.

Tomorrow we go back to pre-Islamic and Pre-Christian times.  The Pyramids builders did not get it right the first time.  They had their mistakes.  Tomorrow my blog will look at some of those mistakes and how they evolved into the great pyramids.

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