Exhibitions: Islamic Gallery (long-term installation)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Statue of Nefer-Tum Standing with Sickle Clasped in Right Hand and Conventional Headdress

The complex nature of Egyptian deities is often indicated by their attributes. Osiris’s tightly wrapped mummy shroud and his crook and...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Fragmentary Slab, "Riverside Scene"

    Part of this boat moored along the Nile appears in the lower left corner of this relief. Next to the boat a farmer, carrying two large water...

     
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    Islamic Gallery (long-term installation)

    Exhibition Didactics ?
    • Captured Reflections: The Photographic Portrait in Iran
      This temporary installation of works on paper is the second in a series on portraiture in Asia and the Islamic world. Under the Qajar dynasty (1785–1925), the art of portraiture was reflected on a monumental scale in life-size oil paintings inspired by European artistic traditions, such as the portrait of Prince Yahya in this gallery. It could also be seen in large-scale wall paintings in palace buildings. The images displayed in this installation, however, represent examples of another medium used for portraiture under the Qajars: photography. Eventually, photography would replace painting as the preferred medium for imperial and other portraits. These photographic portraits combine some of the aesthetic qualities of the painted portrait with the modern technological advances introduced by the camera in mid-nineteenth-century Iran.

      The Persian word for photography, ‘aks, stems from an Arabic root denoting reflection, in the sense of an image being reflected in water or a mirror. Historically, the word was also used as a technical term to describe stencils used for creating designs. In fact, early photography in Iran was understood as an art form rather than as a common profession. Many of the portraits shown here have been attributed to Antoin Sevruguin (d. 1933), an Armenian artist who became one of the most celebrated photographers of Qajar Iran. All the “captured reflections” seen here testify not only to the documentary value of the finished photographic portrait but also to the artistic talent behind the composition.

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