The arabesque or ataurique (from the Arabic “توريق”, tawrīq, “foliage”) refers to an ornament of geometric shapes and extravagant patterns that mimics shapes of leaves, flowers, fruits, ribbons, animals, and appears frequently on the walls of certain Arab buildings, such as mosques .


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  • 1 According to Larousse dictionary
  • 2 History
  • 3 Places to find them
  • 4 Sources

According to Larousse dictionary

(From Italian arabesque / arabic, arabic, for being this characteristic ornament of Muslim art . Architectural ornament composed of combinations of very varied lines, which are used in friezes , skirting boards and borders .


Different peoples throughout the world and in varying degrees of complexity have made use of arabesque: the Indians, the Chinese, the ancient Mexicans, among others, used them on their buildings, on mosaics and even on their fabrics. The Europeans, who were in immediate contact with the Arabs, first imitated this type of decoration and the Crusades , upon their return from the different countries of Asia , spread this taste in the rest of Europe . Traces of this imitation are found again in all Gothic architecture, which, despite its stamp of perfect originality elsewhere, evidently suffers from the oriental influence in everything that concerns the ornament. It was at this time that the word arabesque was created, an exact name as long as it is applied to ornaments from Gothic times, but which ceases to be so at the time of the Renaissance.. Since then the masters of ornaments were no longer the Arabs but the Romans and the beautiful models that the latter had left on the walls of their monuments began to be imitated. Rafael applied himself to him and showed his genius. He was the first among Europeans to introduce allegorical figures into arabesques. It is doubted whether he was an innovator in this or only the imitator of some ancient paintings very little known in his time. In any case, the arabesques with which it adorned certain parts of the Vatican remain the most finished models of this genre of painting for all artists present and to come.

Places to find them

Examples of decoration with arabesque are the Mihrab of the Mosque of Córdoba or the Alhambra in Granada . It was also used in Mudejar art , as can be seen on the façade of the Pedro I Palace , in the Alcázar of Seville . It is much older than Islamic art . It appears on Egyptian and Assyrian monuments ; also in some Etruscans , Greeks and Romans . In the Middle Ages , it was used in all kinds of ornaments, and in the Renaissance it was widely used in Italy .


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