Edited by David J. Roxburgh and Mary McWilliams; with contributions by Farshid Emami, Mary McWilliams, David J. Roxburgh, and Mira Xenia Schwerda
Available August 2017
192 pages; 9 x 11 in.
232 color & b/w illustrations
Hardcover (paper over board)
Published by the Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press
An exciting reassessment of Qajar art, focusing on the mobility of images across diverse mediums and foregrounding more widely accessible forms of image-making
With a few notable exceptions, scholars have historically understudied and often underappreciated the art of Iran in the Qajar era (c.1779–1925). This catalogue presents a fresh take on the art of the period, setting aside the value judgments that shaped early responses to instead examine the effects and results of new technologies of representation across a variety of mediums. The book foregrounds the inherent relationship and movement among mediums and images, both traditional and new, while deflecting primary attention from royal patronage to more public and widely accessible forms of image-making.
In bringing together four principal art forms—lacquer, painting and drawing on paper, lithography, and photography—the authors explore the separate and intertwined histories of these mediums, their contexts of production, and their means of dissemination across sectors of society ranging from the courtly elite to the citizenry at large. The book considers how the breadth of mediums and subject matters evidenced by these objects could be matched only by the diverse formats through which images were embodied and circulated in the world. Indeed, unlike their European contemporaries, Qajar artists and patrons were not concerned about systems of image duplication and translation—a key aspect this book takes up in its effort to approach Qajar art on its own terms.
This catalogue accompanies the exhibition Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-Century Iran, on view at the Harvard Art Museums from August 26, 2017 through January 7, 2018.
David J. Roxburgh is the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History and Chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; Mary McWilliams is the Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic and Later Indian Art at the Harvard Art Museums; Farshid Emami is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University; Mira Xenia Schwerda is a Ph.D. candidate in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.
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