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Article

[Hāshem al-Khaṭṭāṭ]

(b Baghdad, 1917; d Baghdad, 1973).

Iraqi calligrapher. He studied in Baghdad with Mulla ‛Arif and then served an apprenticeship with Mulla Muhammad ‛Ali al-Fadli (d 1948), who awarded him a calligraphy diploma in 1943. In 1944 he continued his studies in Cairo, where he was taught by Sayyid Ibrahim and Muhammad Husni at the Royal Institute of Calligraphy and received further awards. After returning to Baghdad, in 1946 he published a textbook on the riqā‛ style of calligraphy (see Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c)). He visited Turkey on several occasions and found favour with the Turkish calligrapher Hamid Aytaç of Istanbul, who awarded him diplomas in 1950 and 1952. In 1960 he was appointed lecturer in Arabic calligraphy at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and later became the head of the department of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic decoration. Hashem followed the classical Baghdad style of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi and combined it with features from the Ottoman school of calligraphy. He was among the best calligraphers of the ...

Article

[Azmi, Musa ; al-Amidi, Hamid]

(b Diyarbakır, 1891; d Istanbul, May 10, 1982).

Turkish calligrapher . Originally called Musa Azmi, he was the grandson of Seyyid Adem, a famous calligrapher of Diyarbakır. He practised writing in Diyarbakır with his schoolteacher Mustafa Akif Tütenk and others, and in 1908 went to Istanbul to continue his education, first at the School of Law and then at the Fine Arts Academy. However, he was soon forced to give up his studies to earn a living. In 1910 he became a writing teacher at the Gülşen school in Istanbul, where he taught the calligrapher Halim Özyazıcı. He went on to direct the Rusumat press and then worked at the press of the Military Academy in Istanbul. During World War I he worked for one year in Germany, where he prepared military maps. After the war he resigned his job and began to work independently. He changed his name to Hamid Aytaç, and in the early years of the Turkish republic made labels and calling cards. As a calligrapher he practised the ...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Hamadan, 1906; d. Tehran, 1968).

Iranian librarian and scholar of Persian manuscripts. Bayani spent his early career as a teacher of Persian language and literature and as head of the public library of the Ministry of Education. He then directed the transferral of this library to the new National Library, which he founded and directed. He received his doctorate from Tehran University in 1945 and became head of the Royal Library in 1956, a post he held until his death. He also taught courses on the evolution of Persian scripts and codicology and founded a society for the support of calligraphers and the calligraphic arts. His biographical dictionary of Iranian calligraphers, Aḥwāl u āthār-i khushnivisān [Accounts and works of calligraphers] remains an invaluable research tool.

M. Bayani: Fihrist-i khaṭūṭ-i khwaṣ-i Kitābkhāna-yi Millī [Catalog of the special manuscripts in the National Library] (Tehran, 1949)M. Bayani with M. Bahrami: Rāhnamā-yi ganjīna-yi Qur‛ān [Guide to the Collection of Koran manuscripts...

Article

Jan Minchin

(Vladimir Jossif)

(b Vienna, Oct 13, 1920).

Israeli painter of Austrian birth, active in Australia. He grew up in Warsaw. His father, the pseudonymous Jewish writer Melech Ravitch, owned books on German Expressionism, which were an early influence. Conscious of rising anti-Semitism in Poland, Ravitch visited Australia in 1934 and later arranged for his family to settle there. Bergner arrived in Melbourne in 1937. Poor, and with little English, his struggle to paint went hand-in-hand with a struggle to survive. In 1939 he attended the National Gallery of Victoria’s art school and came into contact with a group of young artists including Victor O’Connor (b 1918) and Noel Counihan, who were greatly influenced by Bergner’s haunting images of refugees, hard-pressed workers and the unemployed, for example The Pumpkin-eaters (c. 1940; Canberra, N.G.). Executed in an expressionist mode using a low-toned palette, they were among the first social realist pictures done in Australia.

In 1941...

Article

(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Bandırma, 1935).

Turkish calligrapher, marbler, and connoisseur. He attended high school at Haydarpaşa Lisesi and then graduated from the School of Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at Istanbul University. He worked as a pharmacist until 1977, when he became the director of the Türkpetrol Foundation, a position he held until 2007. Derman studied calligraphy and the arts of the book with many of the leading experts in Istanbul, including Mahir Iz, Süheyl Ünver, Macid Ayral, Halim Özyazıcı and Necmeddin Okyay, often said to have been the last representative of the Ottoman tradition of book arts. Derman received his license to practice in 1380/1960 following the traditional Ottoman system by replicating a copy (taqlīd) of a quatrain in nasta‛līq (Turk. ta‛līq) by the Safavid expert Mir ‛Imad. In the fall of 1985 he joined the faculty of Marmara University and Mimar Sinan University (formerly the State Academy of Fine Arts), where formal instruction in calligraphy was reinstituted in ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Vladimir] (Davidovich)

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], March 30, 1896; d Tbilisi, July 20, 1980).

Georgian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and stage designer. From 1910 to 1914 he trained at the Tiflis School of Painting and Sculpture and from 1919 to 1926 at the Académie Ronson in Paris. While in Paris he became closely acquainted with Modigliani, Ignacio Zuloaga, Natal’ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. His early works, with their theatrically romantic depictions of Georgian national life, fantastic and Symbolist motifs and surreal effects of colour, combine elements of the grotesque with a charming poetic mystery (e.g. the ‘Tsotskhali’ Fish, 1920; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.). His affinity with ancient Georgian and Persian art, of which he was a connoisseur, intensified on his return to Georgia in 1926; his colours became shimmering and tinged with gold, and, at the same time, the visual link with theatre became even stronger (many of his paintings have opera or ballet performances as their subjects or portray actresses in costume). He frequently depicted fantastic and mythological subjects (e.g. ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Flint, MI, Sep 13, 1940).

American book designer, typographer poet and teacher . His father was from Lebanon and his mother was an American-born paediatrician and bibliophile. He studied art at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI (1964) and at the nearby Cranbrook Academy of Art (1966). While visiting Iowa City, IA as an undergraduate, he met Harry Duncan (1917–97), a printer and typographer at the University of Iowa, who was also a leading participant in the revival of interest in letterpress printing. It was during that visit that he first saw a hand-crafted letterpress book. In Detroit he founded The Perishable Press Limited in 1964, followed soon after by the Shadwell Papermill at Cranbrook; involvements that gradually led to the publication of about 130 limited edition books by such well-known writers as Paul Blackburn, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Loren Eiseley, Denise Levertov, W. S. Merwin, Howard Nemerov, Toby Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Jonathan Williams, William Stafford and Paul Auster. In ...

Article

(b Najaf, 1944).

Iraqi calligrapher, painter, printmaker and writer, active in Paris (see fig.). He studied painting and calligraphy in Baghdad from 1960 to 1969, and in 1969 exhibited his work at the Iraqi Artists’ Society exhibition and at the French Cultural Centre in Baghdad. The same year he went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1975. Thereafter he lived in Paris. Although influenced by traditional calligraphy, he developed his own calligraphic style, which incorporated painterly elements. In many of his works, for example Je suis le feu tapi dans la pierre. Si tu es de ceux qui font jailler l’étincelle alors frappe (1984; Paris, Inst. Monde Arab.), he employed proverbs and quotations from a range of sources. He also researched and wrote about Arabic calligraphy.

Article

Herbert Kessler

(b Jerusalem, Dec 14, 1926; d Jerusalem, June 29, 2008).

Israeli art historian of Jewish art. Educated first at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he moved to London and earned an MA in art history at the Courtauld Institute (1959) and a PhD at the Warburg Institute (1962). Returning to Jerusalem, Narkiss rose steadily through the ranks from 1963 when he began teaching at the Hebrew University and, in 1984, was appointed Nicolas Landau Professor of Art History. He also held fellowships and visiting positions at: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies in Washington, DC (1969–70); the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1979–80); the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University (1983), Brown University in Providence, RI (1984–5); the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris (1987–8); the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC (Samuel H. Kress Professor ...

Article

[Efendi, Necmeddin; Üsküdari]

(b Istanbul, Jan 29, 1883; d Istanbul, Jan 5, 1976).

Turkish calligrapher. He attended the Ravzai Terakki school, where he received lessons in calligraphy from Mehmed Şevki and from Hasan Tal’at Bey. In 1905 he received permission to write in the ta’lıq style from Sami (1838–1912) and in 1906 received permission for the thuluth and naskh styles from Bakkal Arif Efendi. Later, at the School of Calligraphers, he learnt to draw tughras and practised jali-thuluth (Turk. celi-sülüs) with Ismail Hakkı Altınbezer (1870–1946). He also learnt from Shaykh Ethem Efendi the art of marbled paper, at which he became very skilful. His use of the surname Okyay came from his proficiency at archery. He succeeded his father as preacher and Imam at the Yenicami mosque at Üsküdar in Istanbul, where he remained for 40 years. He taught at the School of Calligraphers, the Oriental Decorative Arts School and finally at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, where he practised the ...

Article

(b Istanbul, 1898; d Istanbul, Sept 20, 1964).

Turkish calligrapher. He was educated at the Gülşen junior high school in Istanbul, where he received lessons in calligraphy from Hamid Aytaç, with whom he practised the riqā‛a style. He then studied drawing and sculpture at the Fine Arts Academy and calligraphy at the School of Calligraphers, both in Istanbul. He practised the thuluth and naskh styles with the calligraphers Hasan Riza (1849–1920) and Kamil Akdik (1862–1941), and the ta’līq style with Mehmed Hulusi (1869–1940). Employed as an officer at the Imperial Chancery of State, he also received lessons in dīvānī from Ferit Bey, the Director. During his military service he worked in the office of the military press and on returning to civilian life worked independently. When the Latin alphabet replaced Arabic script in Turkey in 1928 he gave up calligraphy but in 1948 was appointed ‘old writing teacher’ at the Fine Arts Academy, where he worked until ...

Article

[Sa‛īd, Shākir Ḥasan al-]

(b Samawa, 1925; d 2004).

Iraqi painter and writer. Said graduated in 1954 from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he was taught by Jawad Salim. In 1955 he was sent on a government scholarship to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian, the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and also trained as a special student under Raymond Legueult (1898–1978). In 1959 he returned to Baghdad and was inspired by Arab painting of the 13th century, notably the work of al-Wasiti (see Islamic art, §III, 4(iv)(c)); he also read the works of the mystic philosopher al-Hallaj (d ad 922) and was drawn to Sufism. He gave up figural depiction in his paintings and turned to Arabic calligraphy, the spiritual and physical qualities of the letters becoming the central subject of his compositions. In 1971 he formed the ‘One-dimension’ group in Baghdad, which promoted the modern calligraphic school in Arab art, and in the same year the group held its only exhibition. His preoccupation with the spiritual element in art continued in his later work (e.g. ...