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Dancers in Repose Edgar Degas
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Dancers in Repose (72.441) — Edgar Degas

Between Logos and Light: Depicting the Prophet Muhammad from 1300 to Today

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 |6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

  • For Adults

6:30-7:30 PM, DIA Lecture Hall
Members Only Reception to Follow in Kresge Court
Dr. Christiane Gruber
Assistant Professor of Islamic Art and of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University at Bloomington

Dr. Gruber will examine a number of paintings of the Prophet Muhammad produced in Persian and Turkish lands from the 14th century until today.  Functioning as "iconic portraits," these paintings represent the Prophet's individual traits, as well as his primordial luminosity (nur muhammadi) and veiled essence. Their pictorial motifs reveal that artists engaged in abstract thought and turned to symbolic motifs in depicting the Prophet's nature as both human and sacred.  In addition, various mystical beliefs and popular practices appear to have inspired artists, who display piety through pictorial forms.  As a result, paintings of the Prophet underscore the intricate, historically contingent, and otherwise poorly understood conventions of prophetic "portraiture" in Islamic traditions.

A note on the speaker:
Dr. Christiane Gruber is Assistant Professor of Islamic Art at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her primary field of research is Islamic painting. Her interest and expertise in Islamic calligraphy was sought after to write the online catalogue of Islamic calligraphy in the Library of Congress (link, active from 2006). She is the author of The Timurid Book of Ascension (Mi’rajnama): A Study of Text and Image in a Pan-Asian Context (Valencia, Spain: Patrimonio Ediciones, Fall 2007) and the soon to be published The Ilkhanid Book of Ascension: a Persian-Sunni Prayer Manual (I.B. Tauris, September 2008).

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