Cosmopolitan Visions: Art and Architecture from the Islamic Courts of Southern India

May 18 | 6p | Complimentary Admission | FIA Theater

Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton, Guest Lecturer

Join Professor Deborah Hutton for an exploration of the diverse visual cultures that flourished circa 1600 in South Asia’s Deccan region. The Deccan is the plateau that connects northern and southern India, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was home to a number of Islamic kingdoms, each with its own distinct courtly culture that produced elegant architecture, lush paintings, and sumptuous objects. These courtly cultures combined religious, linguistic, and regional traditions in ways that might surprise us today. Merchants, soldiers, poets, and artists from a range of locales in Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and north India made their way to the Deccan and further added to the cosmopolitan mix. The arts of the Islamic Deccan provide a delightful window into the richly layered landscape of South Asian art and remind us just how diverse our shared global heritage is.

Deborah Hutton is a professor of Asian and Islamic art history at The College of New Jersey. In both her teaching and scholarship, she is committed to presenting a globally-diverse history of art that centers equity and social justice. She is author of Art of the Court of Bijapur and co-author of Raja Deen Dayal: Artist-Photographer in 19th-century

Ibrahim Rauza, 17th century, Bijapur, India

India. Most recently she has been involved with producing art history textbooks for the 21st century, including The History of Art: A Global View and The History of Asian Art: A Global View, both published by Thames & Hudson.

The Kommareddi Family Lecture Series focuses on topics related to the art, history, and culture of South Asia. Sponsored by Jayashree and Dr. Prasad Kommareddi.

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The Tree of Life: The Connection Between the Divine and the World

By: Dr. Justin Sledge, Guest Lecturer 

June 1 & 8 | 6:00p | FIA Theater


Dr. Justin Sledge

Monotheism has long struggled with a central theological and philosophical problem: How to bridge the gap between an infinite, transcendent God and the finite, immanent world. In these two lectures, Dr. Justin Sledge will explore how philosophers, theologians, mystics and artists have attempted to solve this dilemma. The first lecture will introduce the central question in philosophy and art in the ancient world of Greek Philosophy and Mystery Religion, from the speculation of the first atomists, Egyptian occultists transcending their bodies beyond the stars to Jewish mystics reaching into infinity itself. The second lecture will take us into the speculations of medieval Christian theologians and mystics, the rise of Kabbalah, and

secret philosophies that sought to ascend and unify with the divine itself. Of course, we will also explore the fantastic art and artistic depictions of the journey from our world to the world of the majestic, hidden divine! Dr. Justin Sledge earned his under-graduate degree at Millsaps College then went for a DRS in religious studies (Western Esotericism and Related Currents) at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and a MA and PhD in philosophy at the University of Memphis. He is currently a part-time professor of philosophy and religion at several institutions in the Metro Detroit area and a popular local educator.

image: Portae Lucis, 1516, by Joseph Gikatilla (1248–1325). Latin translation by Paulus Ricius.

The Greatest Show on Paper and Stone: Carnival and Circus Lithography, 1880–1940

Dr. Taylor Hagood, Guest Lecturer

July 20 | 6 p | FIA Theater 

Dr. Taylor Hagood

When Parisian print dealer, Edmond Sagot, glimpsed the market for Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters of Montmartre nightlife, a realization emerged of the distinct and colorful carnivalesque appeal of posters as both advertisements and works of art. Such a mixture of high and low pleasures formed the essence of La Belle Époque, and the relatively new form of lithography lent itself well to capturing the era’s blend of carnival and circus. Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha, and many other European artists mastered the form. Meanwhile, in the United States, such companies as Strobridge and Otis carried forward that momentum in visually defining the nation’s traveling productions deep into the first half of the twentieth century. In this lecture, Dr. Taylor Hagood explores the medium of lithography and the technical,

cultural, and historical forces that wedded it to European and American entertainment and produced a body of visual work at once edgy and nostalgic. Taylor Hagood, Ph.D. lectures on literature, art, history, travel, music, and the history of magic. His publications include the C. Hugh Holman Award-winning Faulkner, Writer of Disability and Secrecy, Magic, and the One-Act Plays of Harlem Renaissance Women Writers. A former Fulbright Professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, Germany, he is currently Professor of American Literature at Florida Atlantic University.

image: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Seated Clowness, 1896. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture has been established to address the topics of art, religion, and history, and is funded annually by The Sheppy Dog Fund, Dr. Alan Klein, Advisor.

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Coffee with a Curator


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