Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy

Where: Sackler Gallery

When: through May 3, 2015

This small (two-room) show is at the back of the museum, close to the gift shop.  Considering its diminutive size, it takes a while to make your way through it, as there are wall notes for each piece.  Although the focus is on text, in reality it's a show about art.

The exhibit offers examples of the work of four different Persian calligraphers, each with his own particular style.  These masters worked from 1400, when the script was originally developed, until 1600, when it had been transformed into an art form in its own right.

I confess, the subtle differences in technique were lost upon me.  I think the calligraphy is lovely, and it does look something like the bird in flight to which it was compared, but if you showed me several examples and asked me who had written each one, I'd be hard pressed to tell you.

Verdict: Nasta'liq translates as "beautiful writing," and it is that.  If you don't have a particular interest in Iranian history or calligraphy, you can probably skip this.

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