cover image Art of the Persian Courts

Art of the Persian Courts

Rizzoli, Abolala Soudavar. Rizzoli International Publications, $75 (423pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1660-6

From wildly imaginative fantasy to rapt religious contemplation to ineffable nature poetry, Persian art has sounded the chords of human emotion in works of consummate subtlety and refinement. This splendidly illustrated volume, which accompanies a traveling exhibition opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, focuses on painting, manuscript illumination, calligraphy and drawing. There are remarkable images of a seated angel, dervishes, lovers, mystics, a coy woman with a veil, a man attacked by a dragon. Among the more than 400 Persian and Mughal Indian treasures are illustrations for the Shahname , a medieval compilation of epics and tales depicting Iran's legendary heroes. Soudavar, an expert on Persian manuscripts, and Beach, a gallery director in Washington, D.C., follow the tumultuous course of Persian art from successive Greek, Muslim Arab and Mongol invasions to the striking, somber oil portraiture of the 19th century. (Feb.)