Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Miniatures for an Epic: 1001 Years of Persian Painting in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh

Wed, March 30, 2011 | ART 1.120

6:00 PM

A lecture by Dr. Stephennie Mulder
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
6:00 PM
ART 1.120
23rd and San Jacinto Streets
University of Texas campus, Austin

Ferdowsi's Shahanmeh, the story of the ancient Persian kings, is the national epic of Iran and, at over 60,000 couplets, one of the world's longest and most exquisitely written poems.  Rich in narrative intrigue, colorful anecdote, moral commentary, and explorations of human frailty, love, and passion, the poem often evokes comparisons to Shakespeare's plays, and it occupies much the same place in Iranian civilization as Homer's Odyssey and Iliad do in the West.  Recited for millennia in contexts ranging from humble coffee shops to the richly marbled courts of Persian kings, the stories of the Shahnameh are known to every schoolchild in the Persianate world.  

2010 marked the 1000th anniversary of this epic poem, which was redacted by the Persian poet Abu'l-Qasim Ferdowsi in the year 1000, and celebrations were held around the world.  But the Shahnameh also played a key role in the development of painting in Islamic art, for manuscripts illustrated with jewel-like miniature paintings were commissioned almost continuously by Muslim rulers in the millenium after its redaction.  This lecture will explore the contribution of the Shahnameh toward the development of Persian painting, and explore some of the artistic conventions of this unique contribution to the world's visual culture.

Dr. Stephennie Mulder is Assistant Professor with joint appointment in the Department of Art and Art History and the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she specializes in Islamic art and architecture.

The Art Building and Museum (ART) is located at the corner of 23rd and San Jacinto Streets on the University of Texas campus. Public parking is located in the San Jacinto Street garage, located one block north at the intersection of 24th and San Jacinto Streets.






Sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern Studies in cooperation with His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States.

Bookmark and Share

  •   Map
  • Middle Eastern Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    204 W 21st Street Stop F9400
    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712