Saturday, March 21, 2009

Persian and Mughal paintings from Cincinnati

Iran, 17th or 18th c.

The bad news
from the Cincinnati Art Museum
is that they haven't shown
a single Chinese painting for more than a year.

But the good news
is that they're still showing
some great Islamic art.

The above style
looks so bad when it's caricatured,
and so good when
it has that spark of excitement.

Polo game, Shiraz, Iran, 1675-1700
from a Shah-nama

I wish the Art Institute
had stuff like this.
(the Met has several rooms full)

(I also wish they were better lit
so I could take better pictures.
Though I understand the
needs of conservation)

What a happy piece!

What a delightful,
that must have been.

(oops -- I forgot to shoot the label,
so you'll have to make up your own story)

Shirin receives the portrait of Khusrau
Iran, late 15th C.,
Khamsa of Nizami

There aren't many other figurative traditions
that just show people enjoying themselves.

Tur beheads Iraj
Safavid, attrib. to Sultan-Muhammad 1530-35
page from Shah Tahmasp's Shah-nama

Even murder
can be a beautiful thing.

Hamzanama, Hamza (companion of Muhammad) emerges
from a chest to confront King Zrtab who is taken prisoner
and later converts to Islam.
Artist is signed as "Mahesh"

The only Mughal paintings
I can remember
from my teenage years,
were the battle scenes
(with plenty of bloody beheadings)

Those are no longer on display,
but the above is just as good.

and it's especially interesting
from an historical perspective
because the artist's name is Hindu
while the patron is Akbar the Great,
from a dynasty that demolished it's share of temples
and slew its share of idolaters.

Akbar was also
a key figure
in the development of Hindustani music,
which is shared by Muslim and Hindu alike.


Blogger Robert said...

Great stuff Chris, ou are busy on line. I hope that after Easter I will be more e motivated!!!!

March 22, 2009  

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