Monreale Cathedral Cloister Arch



Monreale Cathedral, located on a hill outside Palermo, was begun in 1174 by the Norman King William II of Sicily. An outstanding example of Norman monumental architecture, the building is notable for its extensive mosaic cycle, inlaid flooring, and marble columns. Islamic features predominate in this architecture, such as the geometric surface decoration seen in the cloister arch depicted here. The Normans defeated the previous Arab rulers of Sicily, so the display of Islamic influences in this space might speak to their desire to represent cultural and political superiority, while also demonstrating the continuation of styles created by workshops working in Islamic traditions.

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