Please join us on Tuesday, May 11, 12-12:40 pm for our monthly series, Sneak Peek: New Research from the Freer and Sackler. This month’s lecture, The Ezzat-Malek Soudavar Shahnama: Illustrating Firdawsi’s Book of Kings in the Early Qajar Period, will be presented by Simon Rettig, Assistant Curator of Islamic Art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
Eclipsed by the rise of oil painting on canvas, nineteenth-century manuscript painting in Iran has so far attracted little scholarly attention. An unpublished volume of Firdawsi’s Shahnama (Book of Kings), formerly in the collection of Ezzat-Malek Soudavar, offers new perspectives on the genre during the reign of Fath-‘Ali Shah Qajar (1797–1834), when artistic production received not only royal patronage but also strong support from the Qajar and urban elites. In this talk, assistant curator Simon Rettig will present his research on the forty-seven illustrations added sometime between 1810 and 1830 to the manuscript originally copied in the early seventeenth century.
Simon Rettig is assistant curator of Islamic art at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He previously worked at the French Research Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul and the Freie Üniversität in Berlin. He joined the Freer and Sackler in 2012. Since then, he has curated and cocurated the exhibitions
The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran (2018), The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts (2016–17), and Nasta‘liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy (2014–15). His current projects include a monograph on the Freer’s celebrated Khusraw u Shirin.
This talk is part of the series, Sneak Peek: New Research from the Freer and Sackler, where museum staff present in-depth, personal perspectives on and discuss ongoing research connected to works in the Freer and Sackler collections.
Lizzie Stein, Scholarly Programs and Publications Specialist
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art