Heinrich Friedrich von Diez’s “Little Collection of Paintings Illustrating Firdausi’s Shahnama”
The Prussian Royal Library, the Königliche Bibliothek, in Berlin was greatly enriched in 1817 with the bequest made by the former Prussian ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Heinrich Friedrich von Diez: virtually his entire Orientalist library, nearly 17,000 books, manuscripts, albums, unpublished dissertations and an extensive coin-collection. Largely overlooked, until planning for the Firdausi Millennial was well under way in Berlin, was that Diez had also bequeathed to the Prussian Library a small “collection of Eastern paintings, for the most part scenes from Firdausi’s Book of Kings, the Shahnama.” These Shahnama illustrations are the subject of Eleanor Sims’ lecture at the Ancient India and Iran Trust.
The art historian Eleanor Sims is a leading expert on Persian painting. She was educated at Mills College, in Oakland, California, and took both an M.A. and a Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York City. She has worked in the Department of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum and has taught the history of Islamic art in both the US and the UK. In the US she organized a traveling loan-exhibition of Islamic art to celebrate the 1400th anniversary of the Hijra. She has published widely: her volume on the sources and modes of Iranian imagery, Peerless Images, won a British-Kuwait Friendship Prize in 2003; she co-edited the journal Islamic Art with her late husband, Ernst J. Grube (the first Curator of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Currently she is finishing the volume on Shahnama and historical paintings in the N. D. Khalili Collection.
The lecture will begin promptly at 5.30pm, with refreshments from 5pm.
Ancient India and Iran Trust
23 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge, CB2 8BG
tel: 01223 356841 e-mail: info @indiran.org
All are welcome.