History of Art and Architecture

Christiane Gruber Lecture

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - 4:30pm

Room 202, Frick Fine Arts

"The Praiseworthy One: Devotional Images of the Propher Muhammad in Islamic Traditions"

Chrisiane Gruber, Univeristy of Michigan

This presentation explores a number of paintings of the Prophet Muhammad produced in Persian and Turkish lands from the fourteenth century to the modern day. Ranging from veristic to abstract, these images represent Muhammad’s individual traits, primordial luminosity, and veiled essence. Their pictorial motifs reveal that artists engaged in abstract through and turned to symbolic motifs in order to imagine Muhammad’s primordial origins and prophetic standing. In creating and gazing upon such images, artists and viewers were also inspired by various mystical beliefs and practices, including devotional invocation, in the process seeking to express their piety through both verbal and pictorial language. Within a variety of Islamic expressive cultures, paintings thus have functioned as a powerful means for devotional engagement with Muhammad, the “praiseworthy” Prophet and Messenger of Islam.