The splendor of Persian art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

The splendor of Persian art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

The splendor of Persian art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Persian Pear — Hossein Afshar Collection

From April 23 to July 17, 2022, the Toledo Museum of Art presents “Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands,” an exhibition of more than 100 works of art from the private collection of Hossein Afshar.

Source: Toledo Museum of Art · Image: Steel pear, Persian, early 17th century. Inlaid with gold. 18.4 x 10.5 x 9.4 cm. Hossein Afshar Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The exhibition includes works created between the 6th and 19th centuries, and the body of work shows how historic Persia was a destination for both invaders and traders, resulting in a rich artistic production that incorporated themes and materials from many different cultures. In the words of Sophie Ong, curator at the Toledo Museum of Art, “Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands” “shows us that globalization is not a new phenomenon. Persia was the center of much cultural exchange, and that influence is felt throughout the significant objects in the exhibition.”

In a press release, the museum explains that “woven into the stories of these extraordinary works of art are experiences, ideas, and emotions shared by cultures across the globe. By evoking universal themes of faith and piety, love and longing, kingship and authority, banquets and battles, and earth and nature, the exhibition brings alive the rich heritage and enduring beauty of Persian art.”

“The influence of the natural world, for example, is felt in the many works depicting botanical themes, a reflection of Persia as one of the earliest civilizations to cultivate gardens. Its symbolism — of paradise, of the promise of spring, of renewal — permeated Persian culture. (In fact, the English word paradise originates in the ancient Persian word “pairidaeza.”) Depictions of lions, falcons, roses and nightingales convey specific meanings about love, longing and power. The works of art on view will also explore the roles and history of trade and migration in Persian art, demonstrating their important legacy in artistic and technological advancement within Islamic lands and beyond.” #2022 #theartwolf

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