Virtual book launch "From Granada to Berlin: The Alhambra Cupola" by Anna McSweeney

30. September 2020

book cover "From Granada to Berlin: The Alhambra Cupola" by Anna McSweeney

Dear friends of the Museum for Islamic Art, 

Please join us on the 30th September for the virtual book launch of Dr. Anna McSweeney’s From Granada to Berlin: the Alhambra Cupola. Featuring a talk by the author followed by a discussion with Professor Stefan Weber, Director of the Museum for Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

Date: Wednesday 30th September at 7.00pm (time according to German time)
Registration: If you would like to attend, please contact Matty Bradley by e-mail: and the zoom link and password will be provided. Please note the number of attendees is limited so early registration is advised. Please register by the 28th September.

This book is the story of an extraordinary survivor from the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain: the Alhambra cupola, now in the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin. The cupola, a ceiling crafted from carved and painted wood, was made to crown an exquisite mirador in one of the earliest palace buildings of the Alhambra. The book is the cupola’s biography from its medieval construction to its imminent redisplay in Berlin. It traces the long history of the Alhambra through the prism of the cupola, from the Muslim craftsmen who built it, to its adaptation by the Christian conquerors after the fall of Granada in 1492, to its creation as a heritage site.
The cupola was sketched by artists from across Europe, before it was dismantled by a German financier and taken to Berlin in the 19th century. It witnessed the dramatic events of the 20th century in Germany and was eventually bought by the Museum in 1978. In recent decades, the new visibility of the cupola to the wider public has prompted questions about the object and its movement from Granada to Berlin. Its removal from the Alhambra and the complex reasons behind this loss are central to this biography. Setting the cupola within the wider context of Islamic heritage, it considers the role of collecting practices in the transformation of living monuments into heritage sites in the 20th century.
This book presents a focused study of this unique object that cuts across academic disciplines and geographic boundaries to reveal a new perspective on the legacy of Islamic art in Europe and its continuing relevance today.



Freunde des Museums für Islamische Kunst im Pergamonmuseum e.V.
c/o Museum für Islamische Kunst
Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse 6
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30 26642 5201