The Republic of Beauty, Melding West and East

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Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797 This 1511 painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition shows the reception of Venetian ambassadors in Damascus.

Told often enough that the West and Islam are natural enemies, we start to believe it, and assume it has always been so. But the Metropolitan Museum of Art argues otherwise in “Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797,” a show that, with classic Met largesse, recreates the spectacle of two different cultures meeting in one fantastic city, where commerce and love of beauty, those great levelers, unite them in a fruitful bond.

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