The Theater of Martyrdom: Vision and Emotion in Late Safavid Painting - The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Theater of Martyrdom: Vision and Emotion in Late Safavid Painting

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The Bahari Foundation Lectures on Art and Culture

The Theater of Martyrdom: Vision and Emotion in Late Safavid Painting

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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Speakers include

  • Dr Amy Landau: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

Organised by

  • Dr Sussan Babaie: The Courtauld Institute of Art

Ticket / entry details:

Open to all, free admission

Space in the lecture theatre is limited so please do arrive early to secure a place. Late arrivals may not be admitted.

Martyrdom played a central role in legitimizing narratives for the Safavids (1501–1722), who instituted Shi’ism as the dynastic religion at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Safavid shahs fostered narratives and court ritual revolving on/around? martyrdom and invested in staging Muharram festivals, where the battle of Karbala and the martyrdom of Husayn ibn ‘Ali would dramatically unfold before spectators. This lecture examines the ways in which Safavid artists explored the visuality of violence, tragedy, and sorrow to manipulate the viewer’s experience of the painted image. Experimentation with and discussion about the emotive possibilities of images in seventeenth-century Iran set the stage for Shi’i visual rhetoric that took such popular forms from the eighteenth century onwards.

Amy Landau is Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Islamic and South & Southeast Asian Art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland. Her most recent exhibitions include Gérôme and His Circle: Travel, Art, and Business in the Middle East and Pearls on a String: Artist, Patron and Poet at the Great Islamic Courts. Her publications focus on cultural interchange between Iran and Europe and the Armenian community of New Julfa. Landau received her doctorate from the University of Oxford, Islamic Art and Archaeology, in 2009.

Iran Re-search / The Bahari Foundation Lectures on Art and Culture is a new annual lecture series inviting practicing artists, curators and scholars to think afresh about the trajectories of knowledge production on material and visual cultures of Iran. The Iran Re-search Bahari Lecture Series aims to foreground transdisciplinary and cross-temporal approaches, considering as wide a range as contemporary arts and the antiquities of Iran.

Iran Re-search / The Bahari Foundation Lectures on Art and Culture is organized by Dr. Sussan Babaie.

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