Princeton's Great Persian Book of Kings presents the first comprehensive examination of a beautifully decorated yet relatively unknown manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of Kings), created in 1589-90 in the flourishing cultural center of Shiraz. Held by Princeton University and called the Peck Shahnama after its donor, the work ranks among the finest intact 16th-century Persian manuscripts in the United States. Composed more than one thousand years ago, the epic poem Shahnama narrates the story of Iran from the dawn of time to the 7th century A.D. Its 50,000 verses and countless tales of Iran's ancient kings and heroes have been a vital source of artistic inspiration in Persian culture for centuries. Author Marianna Shreve Simpson offers a detailed discussion of the Peck Shahnama, including its origins, history, and artistic characteristics. All of the manuscript's intricately illuminated and illustrated folios are reproduced with stunning new photography, and each is accompanied by commentary on its narrative themes and artistic presentation. An essay by Louise Marlow explores the manuscript's extensive marginal glosses, an unusual feature of the Peck Shahnama.
This visually stunning book focuses on the rebirth of Chinese art in the twentieth century under the influence of Western art and culture. Michael Sullivan, recognized throughout the world as a leading scholar of Chinese art, vividly documents the conflicting pulls of traditional and Western values on Chinese art and provides 364 illustrations, in color and black-and-white, to show the great range of artistic expression and the historical processes that occurred within various movements. A substantial biographical index of twentieth-century Chinese artists is a valuable addition to the text. Sullivan discusses artists and their work against China's background of oppression and relaxation, despair and hope. He expertly conveys the diverse and at times bizarre intertwining of Chinese cultural history and art during this century. Included are the intense debates between traditionalists and reformers, the creation of the first art schools, and the birth of the idea--shocking in ethnocentric China--that art is a world language that obliterates all frontiers. The scholarly traditions of classical Chinese painting, the belated discovery of Western modernism, the artistic upheaval under Communism, and China's rethinking of the very nature of art all have a place in Sullivan's fascinating history. Michael Sullivan has known many of the major figures in China's modern art movement of the 1930s and 1940s and has also gained the confidence of younger artists who rose to prominence following the 1979 "Peking Spring." This long-awaited book--richly documented and abundantly illustrated--is a capstone to Sullivan's work and will be enthusiastically welcomed by art lovers everywhere.
In the modern literature on Renaissance art and architecture, Paris has often been considered the Cinderella of the European capitals. The prestigious buildings that were erected soon after François I decided in 1528 to make Paris his residence have long since been lost. Thomson, however, restores this fascinating chapter of architectural history in his careful synthesis of documentary and technical sources.