Chilean architect and illustrator Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa created “Architecture of the Portrait”: a series of illustrations of renowned architects drawn with the precision and accuracy of a fineliner. In order to choose the protagonists of her geometrical analyses, the architect states a preference for strong character and the presence of imperfections, which imparts a certain richness to the representation.
The architectural construction of the face is done using lines to create a hatch effect. Next, she adds color that pays tribute to the traditional default CAD shades: yellow, cyan and magenta.
In conjunction with the British Library’s Learning Team, we recently held a very successful study day: Mughal India: Art and Culture. To coincide with the event, we have installed three new ʻMughalʼ manuscripts in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery. These are: A Royal copy of Nizami’s ‘Five poems’, dating from Herat, ca.1494 (Or. 6810, f. 3r), A mother rebukes her arrogant son, a copy of Saʻdi’s Būstān dated at Agra, 1629 (Add. 27262, f. 145r) and, the subject of my post today, Humayun received by the Safavid ruler Shah Tahmasp of Iran, from Abu’l-Fazl’s Akbarnāmah, dating from Agra, ca. 1602-3 (Or. 12988, f. 98r).
Picturing Math at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has prints dating back to the 15th century, all expressing the beauty of mathematics.
In 2015, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired a series of prints of the most beautiful equations, as drawn by 10 prominent mathematicians and scientists. Mathematician Stephen Smale, for example, chose the relatively simplified numerical analysis equation known as Newton’s Method, first published in the 17th century, while theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg’s demonstration of the Lagrangian of the Electroweak Theory, which contributed to his 1979 Nobel Prize, flows over four dense lines. The 10 prints of mathematical expressions known as the Concinnitas portfolio are the core of Picturing Math: Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints, currently on view in the Met’s Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery.
For anyone inspired by celebrations of St Valentine’s day, Persian literature has much to offer. Whether it be platonic adoration, romantic affection, or star-crossed disappointment, Persian poetry, in particular, has something to say about it. With a written tradition stretching over a millennium, much of it still preserved in manuscripts; we explore here a few select examples of epic and romantic compositions from the British Library’s growing collection of digitised Persian manuscripts available online to observe wonderful and alternative responses to love, physical and spiritual.