Persian epic literature is filled with daring heroes, doomed lovers, and mighty rulers. Join Riyaz Latif, Mellon Assistant Professor of History of Art at Vanderbilt, Paul Vasterling, artistic director and CEO of the Nashville Ballet, and Ginny Soenksen, assistant curator of interpretation, Frist Center for Visual Arts, for a discussion of two important tales, the Shahnama, or Persian Book of Kings, and Layla and Majnun, an allegorical tale of love and loss, on Tuesday, November 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Frist.
Panelists will explore how both stories were represented in the visual arts and culture of Islamic societies during the twelfth through fifteenth centuries and how they continue to resonate today. Latif and Soenksen will contextualize works of art currently on view in Ink, Silk, and Gold: Islamic Art from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Latif will focus on the art of the Ilkhanids, the ruling house under which the Great Mongol Shahname was produced, and Vasterling will discuss how the romantic, mystical and lyrical narrative of Layla and Majnun inspired him to create a new ballet.
In partnership with Vanderbilt’s Office of Community, Neighborhood, and Government Relations, the Frist Center is featuring “Food for Thought: Ink, Silk, and Gold—Exploring the Historic Empires of the Islamic World through the Visual Arts and Culture,” a three-part series of lunchtime conversations presented by Vanderbilt professors, Frist Center curators, and members of the Nashville community.
Islamic art is not a product of one country or one mindset, or from one moment in history, because the Islamic world is multifaceted and multi-ethnic. The exhibition features art from the eighth century to the twenty-first and from Spain to Indonesia. By spotlighting distinct moments in history and geographic locations, this series of panel discussions will provide the community with an opportunity to learn about the diversity and vibrancy of Islamic art and culture.
Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. with panel discussion to follow at noon. For more information or to reserve a place, call the Vanderbilt office at 615.322.8585.
*Couple with attendants, Uzbekistan (Bukhara), mid-16th century. Ink, color, and gold on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 14.584. Photograph © 2015 MFA, Boston.