Dr. Ariel Fein


About Dr. Ariel Fein

Dr. Ariel Fein earned her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University, where she wrote her dissertation on the Martorana Church and the Arab-Christian built environment of Norman Sicily. Her scholarship explores the intersection of Christian and Islamic visual cultures, in particular the circulation of objects, peoples, and ideas across the frontier zones of the Mediterranean. Other research interests include: the arts of medieval Arab-Christians, identity negotiation and cultural memory in the post-Byzantine diaspora, and Jewish ceremonial art and architecture, with a particular focus on the Jewish communities of the 19th- and 20th-century Middle East.







Abraham Cresques, 1375 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
The Catalan Atlas reveals how one 14th-century Jewish mapmaker understood the political and ethnic realities of his world. 

The Catalan Atlas






Detail of floral gardens and the Great Mosque of Mecca (left) and talismanic motifs, including magic squares and a human calligram (right). Talismanic pilgrimage scroll signed by Sayyad Muhammad Hasan Cishti, Indian, probably Deccan, 1787–88, 918 x 45.5cm, watercolor, black and red ink, and gold on paper, (Aga Khan Museum)--any way to make these a little less yellow? and you might crop out that little gray overhand on the bottom right image or make all white backgrounds
Much like modern souvenirs, these mementos of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish pilgrimage perpetuated pilgrims’ spiritual encounters, stimulating the reliving of the pilgrimage experience and their engagement with their faith. 

Pilgrimage souvenirs


Kanisat Musa, Florence, BNC, Ms. Magl. III, 43
Much like modern souvenirs, these mementos of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish pilgrimage perpetuated pilgrims’ spiritual encounters, stimulating the reliving of the pilgrimage experience and their engagement with their faith. 

Pilgrimage souvenirs 





Drawing from both Christian and Islamic artistic traditions, the Norman King Roger II built the Cappella Palatina to be his dazzling palace chapel and royal ceremonial hall

The Cappella Palatina