Old Geology Lecture Theatre
(Parramatta Road footbridge)
Camperdown, NSW 2006
Professor David J. Roxburgh (Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Harvard University) will discuss the influence of new technologies on the art of the Persian Qajar dynasty.
In Iran, rulers of the Persian Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) pursued a broad range of military, bureaucratic and social reforms, formed new institutions (including the first polytechnic Dar al-Funun ‘Abode of the Sciences’), and embraced new technologies of the mass-produced image, such as photography and lithography. It was also a period of heightened exchange between Iran, India, Russia and the countries of Europe, in which greater numbers of people travelled between these regions for work, trade, diplomacy, education and tourism. Art produced under Qajar rule – for elite and middle class audiences – fully reflected this new mixture of mediums and images moved across and between them with great fluidity. While Persian artists welcomed these new mediums – freely excerpting subjects from a broad range of high through popular visual culture and combining them to produce innovative artworks – the majority of European visitors by contrast offered scathing and derisive criticism. The largely negative history of reception of Qajar art has haunted art historical scholarship until recent years. This lecture examines the processes by which Qajar artists – whether working at the royal court or in the bazaar – embraced new technologies of the image and examines the nature of their resulting intermedial artworks. What were the implications for the art of painting after the advent of photography and lithography?
David J. Roxburgh is Department Chair and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Harvard University. His books include Prefacing the Image: The Writing of Art History in Sixteenth-Century Iran (Leiden, 2001) and The Persian Album, 1400-1600: From Dispersal to Collection (New Haven, 2005). He has also worked as a curator on the exhibitions, Turks: A Journey of A Thousand Years (London, Royal Academy of Art, 2005) and Traces of the Calligrapher: Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900M (Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, 2007). His articles take a variety of approaches to the study of aesthetics, art and culture of the book, history of collections, and written sources.
The Sydney Asian Art Series presents leading international voices on early, modern and contemporary Asian art. This three-year series of talks and events is co-presented by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, The Power Institute and VisAsia, with support from the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Ideas.
The University of Sydney's Power Institute brings art, ideas, scholarship and people together in joyous and productive collision!