What does the artist’s signature mean?
This one-day international symposium featuring art historians Sheila Canby (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Gülru Necipoğlu (Harvard University), Martin Kemp (Oxford University), and Amy Landau (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore) raises questions about the meaning of signatures on works of art.
Among the issues to be discussed are the individuality of the artist vs. the artist’s workshop, training and apprenticeship, and the role of connoisseurship within recent art historical scholarship and the art market.
EVENT: Conferences & Symposia – The Artist’s Signature in Western and Islamic Art
DATE: Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
TIME: 9:00 a.m. EST – 5:00 p.m. EST
VENUE: Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
About Sheila R. Canby
Sheila R. Canby has been Patti Cadby Birch Curator in Charge of The Metropolitan Museum (Met) of Art’s Department of Islamic Art, since October 26, 2009.
She oversees all of the curatorial and administrative activities of the department, including acquisitions, research, and exhibitions, and all matters having to do with the care and display of the collection, which includes more than 12,000 works of art dating from the seventh to the 20th century and reflects the cultural and geographic sweep of historic Islamic civilization, extending from Spain to India and beyond. Since beginning her time at the Met, she worked closely with Associate Curator Navina Haidar and the team of specialists who have initiated the renovation, expansion, and installation of the department’s new suite of galleries – devoted to the arts of the Arab lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and later South Asia – that were completed in fall 2011.
Prior to working at Met, Sheila Canby was the Curator of Islamic Art and Antiquities at The British Museum, London, since 1991 – first in the Department of Asia, and since 2006 in the Department of the Middle East – she held curatorial and research positions at the Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fogg Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was a visiting lecturer in the Art and Archaeology Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 2004-2005. She received her B.A. from Vassar College, summa cum laude, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Of the dozens of exhibitions and installations she has organized at The British Museum, the most recent was the major spring 2009 exhibition Shah `Abbas: The Remaking of Iran (February through June 2009), which was accompanied by two publications, both of which she authored: Shah `Abbas: The Remaking of Iran and Shah `Abbas and the Treasures of Imperial Iran (both British Museum Press, 2009). Other recent book publications include Islamic Art in Detail (2005), Persian Love Poetry, with Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis (2005), and Safavid Art and Architecture, 1501-1722 (2002). She has also lectured widely, and has published extensively, as the author of articles and reviews, and as a contributor to catalogues and books.
She serves on the Cultural Committee of Asia House, London, and on the Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies, and is a member of the Islamic Art Circle, British Institute of Persian Studies, and Society for Iranian Studies (in the United States), and is also a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.
About Gülru Necipoğlu
Gülru Necipoğlu has been Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University since 1993 where she earned her PhD in 1986.
She specializes in the medieval and early modern periods, with a particular focus on the Mediterranean basin and Eastern Islamic lands. She is the editor of Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World and Supplements to Muqarnas. Her books include Architecture, Ceremonial Power: The Topkapi Palace (1991); The Topkapi Scroll, Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (1995); and The Age of Sinan: Architectural Culture in the Ottoman Empire (2005).
Her Topkapi Scroll won the Albert Hourani and the Spiro Kostoff book awards. The Age of Sinan has been awarded the Fuat Köprülü Book Prize. She is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Archittettura Andrea Palladio in Vicenza.
Her articles include interpretations of monuments such as the Dome of the Rock, Suleymaniye Mosque and Topkapi Palace; Ottoman visual culture; comparative studies on the three early modern Islamic empires (Safavid, Mughal, Ottoman); and artistic exchanges between Byzantium, Renaissance Italy, and the Islamic lands. Her publications also address questions of pre-modern architectural practice, plans and drawings, the aesthetics of abstract ornament and geometric design. Her critical interests encompass methodological and historiographical issues in modern constructions of the field of Islamic art.
About Martin Kemp
Martin Kemp is Emeritus Research Professor in the History of Art at Oxford University. He has written and broadcast extensively on imagery in art and science from the Renaissance to the present day. He speaks on issues of visualisation and lateral thinking to a wide range of audiences. Leonardo da Vinci has been the subject of books written by him, including Leonardo (Oxford University Press 2004). He has published on imagery in the sciences of anatomy, natural history and optics, including The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat (Yale University Press).
He was trained in Natural Sciences and Art History at Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He was British Academy Wolfson Research Professor (1993-98). For more than 25 years he was based in Scotland (University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews). He has held visiting posts in Princeton, New York, North Carolina, Los Angeles and Montreal.
He has curated a series of exhibitions on Leonardo and other themes, including Spectacular Bodies at the Hayward Gallery in London, Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment, Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2006. He was also guest curator for Circa 1492 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 1992.
Amy Landau is Associate Curator of Islamic and South Asian Art. Landau received her Ph.D. from the Department of Islamic Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, in 2007, with a thesis entitled “Farangi-sazi at Isfahan: the Court Painter Muhammad Zaman, the Armenians of New Julfa and Shah Sulayman (1666-1694)“. She has held fellowships at the Warburg Institute (University of London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and was awarded grants from the British Institute for Persian Studies, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) for research in Iran and Armenia. She was previously a Visiting Scholar at UCLA and Curator of Islamic Art at Shangri La (Doris Duke Foundation).
Landau’s work explores shifts in the visual culture of early modern Iran, with particular emphasis on interaction between Safavid Persia and Europe and the Armenian merchant community of New Julfa.
Currently she is working on an international loan exhibition of Islamic manuscripts, Traces of the Poet, Artist, and Patron in the Age of Islamic Empires. Landau’s other exhibitions include Threshold to the Sacred: The Ark Door of Cairo’s Ben Ezra Synagogue (2013); Diadem and Dagger: Jewish Silversmiths of Yemen (2012); and Poetry and Prayer; The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia (2011).
Recent publications include “From Poet to Painter: Allegory and Metaphor in a Seventeenth-Century Persian Painting by Muhammad Zaman, Master of Farangi-Sazi”, Muqarnas 28, 2011, pp. 101-131 and “Adaptation of Religious Iconography in Seventeenth-Century Iran: the Case of Bethlehem Church”, in W. Floor and E. Herzig (eds.), Iran and the World in the Safavid Age, London (in press) .
Ongoing and Recent Departmental Projects – Islamic Digitization Project
This project funded by a Preservation and Access Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2008-2010) enabled the Walters to conserve, catalogue, and provide unlimited access to the Walters exceptional Islamic manuscripts. Approximately 250 manuscripts and single folios were catalogued and digitized. Highlights from the collection include such masterpieces as an early modern copy of the Atlas of the famous Ottoman naval commander Piri Reis (1465- 1554) and volumes of poetry written and decorated for the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1542-1605). Landau catalogued the collection with Adam Gacek (Principle Cataloguer)
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