WEEK ONE: 9 - 13 July 2012

Course 7: Mehreen Chida-Razvi

Painting for the Emperor: The Creation of a Mughal Style



detail of a Mughal miniature with a man in green cloak wearing a turban and a flowering  tree on left
Sa'di in a rose garden, detail of Mughal miniature, early 16th century, Freer Art Gallery, Smithsonian, Washington D.C
Tracing their lineage from both Ghengis Khan and Timur, the Mughal dynasty which ruled over most of South Asia from 1526 to 1857, created one of the most luxurious empires of their time. As an Islamic elite reigning over a local South Asian population, it was important for the Mughal emperors to create a strong visual identity to consolidate their rule. They invested in extensive patronage of the arts and the royal atelier produced magnificent paintings. This course will explore the creation of the distinctive Mughal style of painting, focusing on images produced for the emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. We will examine the impact of Persian, European and local South Asian painting on the Mughal style, as well as the importance of portraiture and naturalism in Mughal painting. In addition, we will investigate how the political and social circumstances of the time, the personalities of the emperors, and the introduction of Christian art to the realm affected the atelier's production. While focusing on works on paper, we will also explore the use of painting on a larger scale as architectural decoration. Visits will include the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.


WEEK TWO: 16 - 20 July 2012

Course 16: Professor Timon Screech

The Arts of Edo Period Japan: Power and Opposition in the Shogun’s Realm


The Early modern, or Edo Period (1603-1868) was one of the great periods of creativity in Japanese history, coming after some two centuries of civil war. Edo (now Tokyo) was the world’s largest city, and the site of massive production and consumption. Other metropoles, such as Kyô (now Kyoto), Osaka and Nagasaki developed their distinctive styles and practices, though much dependent on Edo. This course will consider the visual make-up of the whole Shogunal state, and as such will go beyond the standard materials of art historical analysis. We will consider the visual realm in its widest terms, such as urban planning and memorialisation, gardens and open spaces, as well, of course, as castles with their palatial interiors, and more routine decorations in paint, print or carving. The first half of the course will look at the arts of authority, notably the official Kano School, and the religious arts. The second will analyse the perhaps more vibrant popular schools, and the emergence of the world-famous Japanese woodblock print. We will go beyond old-fashioned notions of the Japan of this period as ‘isolated’, and inspect its international dimensions, in links with the Continent (China and Korea) and with Europe.


WEEK THREE: 23 - 27 July 2012

Course 25: Antonia Gatward Cevizli

The Art of the Sultans



portrait of bearded man facing left wearing white turban and red, fur-coloured robe framed by a round arch
Attributed to Gentile Bellini, Portrait of Mehmet II, 1480, National Gallery, London

The skyline of Istanbul is one of the most recognisable in the world. However, the Ottoman artistic tradition tends not to be so widely known. This course will trace the most significant developments of Ottoman art and architecture from the 15th  to the 19th  century. Beginning with the Green Mosque in the former Ottoman capital of Bursa, we will progress to Edirne and then on to that great prize: Istanbul. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 was a major turning point, changing the way the Ottomans saw themselves and how they were regarded by others. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror initiated the city’s makeover, which transformed it into the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Our exploration of the art of the sultans will introduce us to patrons of the arts, such as Süleyman the Magnificent, the architect Sinan (often referred to as ‘the Michelangelo of the East’), and the most impressive sites of Istanbul, including the Topkapi Palace and the Süleymaniye Mosque. We will study miniatures first-hand in the British Library, explore the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum’s collections of textiles, Iznik ceramics and metalwork and come face-to-face with Gentile Bellini’s portait of Sultan Mehmed II.