Gülru Necipoğlu

Gülru Necipoğlu earned her doctorate from Harvard University in 1986, where she has served as the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture since 1993. She specialises in the arts and architecture of the pre-modern Islamic lands, with a focus on the Mediterranean world and artistic exchanges between the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. Her studies have also addressed aesthetic interconnections with Byzantium and Renaissance Europe, pre-modern architectural practice and the role of ornament. She has mentored numerous students, who continue to transform the field.

Since 1993, Professor Necipoğlu has served as editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World, the pre-eminent journal in the field, and its supplements. Her own publications include Architecture, Ceremonial and Power: The Topkapı Palace (1991), The Topkapı Scroll–Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995), The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005, 2011), Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols, 2019, co-editors C. Kafadar, C.H. Fleischer), The Arts of Ornamental Geometry: A Persian Compendium on Similar and Complementary Interlocking Figures (2017), A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture, in the Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Art History (co-editor F.B Flood, 2017) and Histories of Ornament: From Global to Local (co-editor A. Payne, 2016).

Professor Necipoğlu is an elected member of the British Academy, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza, Italy. She was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge in 2013 and Guest Faculty Scholar at the Kunsthistorisches Institut of Florence in 2014.

In 2023, the Smithsonian awarded her The Freer Medal National Museum of Asian Art, which honours those “who over the course of their career have contributed in a substantial way to the understanding of the arts of Asia”.

Professor Necipoğlu served on the Steering Committee for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016.

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