During the first half of the seventeenth century, successive shahs of Persia took Dutch artists into their service. Other Dutch artists are recorded in Isfahan in other capacities. All but one – the most remarkable of them, Jan Lucasz. van Hasselt – came east with the Dutch East India Company, which had a distinctly uncomfortable feeling about having artists in its employ. All that we have left are documents and stories.
From exhib. cat. The fascination of Persia: The Persian-European dialogue in seventeenth-century art & contemporary art of Teheran, ed. Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) and Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, pp. 153-167, 300-20
Download pdf (2 MB): Between court and Company
“Zwischen Hof und Handelsgesellschaft: Niederländische Künstler in Persien,” in Ausstellungskatalog Sehnsuch Persien: Austausch und Rezeption in der Kunst Persiens und Europas im 17. Jahrhundert * Gegenwartskunst aus Teheran, herausgegeben von Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) und Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, S. 153-167
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Two brothers from an English aristocratic family that was down on its luck, Anthony and Robert Sherley, found their way in 1598 to Persia, where they entered the service of Shah ‘Abbas the Great. Their scarcely believable fortunes – both became ambassadors of the shah to the kingdoms, empire and papacy of Europe – are here reviewed, especially with attention to the prints and paintings through which they displayed their Persian status.
From exhib. cat. The fascination of Persia: The Persian-European dialogue in seventeenth-century art & contemporary art of Teheran, ed. Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) and Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, pp. 78-99, 294-97, 300-20
Download: The Sherleys and the Shah.compressed
“Die Sherleys und der Schah: Persien als Spielfigur in einem Schurkengambit,” in Ausstellungskatalog Sehnsucht Persien: Austausch und Rezeption in der Kunst Persiens und Europas im 17. Jahrhundert * Gegenwartskunst aus Teheran, herausgegeben von Axel Langer, Zürich (Museum Rietberg) und Verlag Scheiddeger & Spiess 2013, S. 78-99
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Anhang und Literatur (1 MB)
The Safavid shahs of Persia entertained a real interest in European art, at a period when Europeans had nothing but disdain for the art of Persia. Schwartz publishes on the subject once again.
Continue reading “334 Dutch Franks in Safavid Persia”
The article by Gary Schwartz with the above title is to be found on pp. 132-152, in English and Farsi, in
Iran and the Netherlands: interwoven through the ages, edited by Martine Gosselink and Dirk J. Tang, Gronsveld and Rotterdam (Barjesteh van Waalwijk van Doorn & Co’s Uitgeversmaatschappij) 2009
Open pdf at 2009IranAndTheNetherlandsInterwovenThroughTheAges (31 Mb)
From Mediating Netherlandish art and material culture in Asia, edited by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann and Michael North, published by Amsterdam University Press, distributed in US by University of Chicago Press, 2014
From University of Chicago Press website (with more information on the book): “Scholars have extensively documented the historical and socioeconomic impact of the Dutch East India Company. They have paid much less attention to the company’s significant influence on Asian art and visual culture.
“Mediating Netherlandish Art and Material Culture in Asia addresses this imbalance with a wide range of contributions covering such topics as Dutch and Chinese art in colonial and indigenous households; the rise of Hollandmania in Japan; and the Dutch painters who worked at the court of the Persian shahs. Together, the contributors shed new light on seventeenth-century Dutch visual culture—and the company that spread it across Asia.”
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On a scale rating artists by their achievements outside their profession, the unquestioned Number One is the third-century Azerbaijani Persian painter Mani, who founded a revolutionary religion that thrived for a thousand years. Schwartz pays tribute to him and to the inspiring interfaith activist and phenomenal collector of Islamic art, Nasser David Khalili. Continue reading “312 My main man Mani”
400 years ago last January a precious gift from Bishop Bernard Maciejowski of Kraków reached Shah Abbas I of Persia. It was a magnificent picture Bible, apparently intended to warm Abbas’ heart for the Christian faith.The manuscript, now in the Morgan LIbrary, unites contributions from Jewish, Christian and Muslim civilization. As a talisman, it has not yet done its work.
Continue reading “292 The caress of civilizations”
On the road, especially in faraway places, Schwartz is known to succumb to an upwelling of Jewish sentiment that he never acts on at home. In Isfahan, he attended Friday-night services in the synagogue of a 2,500-year-old community and got a powerful dose of tribal feeling. Continue reading “282 Reading the prayer book in Isfahan”
No one who has been educated under the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran has heard of Rembrandt, according to research carried out by Schwartz in Shiraz, Tehran and Isfahan. Being kept in the dark not only about him but about Western culture in general adds to the discontent of the Iranians, who nonetheless treated Schwartz to an exclusive, tourist-free introduction to some of their greatest cities and monuments.
Continue reading “281 The Rembrandt riots”