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Villanova University: Arabic Cartouche

Artist Kamal Boullata created this cartouche in 1983 for the Center for Arabic and Islamic Studies at Villanova University. Based on a modernized rendering of a traditional, angular Arabic script, the calligraphic lettering reads, “Villanova.”

villanova logo by Kamal Boullata

Artist’s Description:

“Like an ancient seal or a walled city, the vertical structure is all selfcontained.  The three rhombic points appearing twice within the cartouche (to spell the letter ‘V’) are drawn in a pyramidal shape and may recall the three points at the three ends of the golden Orthodox cross (as viewed in the Mount of Olives Russian church, representing the Trinity).”

“In the very middle of the seal, two other rhombic points, appearing once next to each other (to spell the letter ‘i’), may mirror how two people have been destined to live side by side in the heart of the same city. To the right of these point groupings, there is a single rhombic point (to spell the letter ‘n’), which may sum up the echo of the Oneness to which we all belong.” 


Kamal Boullata

Kamal Boullata is considered one of Palestine’s great modernist artists. Born in Jerusalem, he went on to study at the Fine Arts Academy of Rome and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington, D.C. Boullata’s work is found in private collections throughout the United States, Europe and the Arab world.

Calligraphy (Arabic Inscription) “Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Villanova University”

Calligraphy (Arabic Inscription)

“Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Villanova University”