It is safe to say that the flood of reminiscences, obituaries, and various kinds of public necrologies that have marked the death of Oleg Grabar are quite without parallel in the history of Islamic art history. They complement the numerous appreciations of him that were published in his lifetime, and indeed his own reflections on his career. In the months following his death in January 2011 a series of meetings was convened at which scholars spoke about his work, and the anniversary of his death was marked by a symposium in Istanbul to celebrate his contributions to the understanding of Turkish Islamic art. Other great figures in the field of Islamic art have had their full meed of honour, with memorial services and colloquia, and tributes from the great and the good, as well as obituaries not only in academic journals, where one would expect to find them, but also in broadsheets. But the reaction to Oleg Grabar’s death has been at once more widespread and more profound than this. The sense that an era has ended runs through many of the comments made in both public and private. The obvious question – ‘why?’ – does not have a single obvious answer. It has several, and at times they may seem to contradict each other.