THE ARTS SOCIETY PAINSWICK
THE ARTS SOCIETY PAINSWICK
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DateEvent
23 March 2018IRAN - LAND OF GREAT KINGS, SHAHS AND AYATOLLAHS
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IRAN - LAND OF GREAT KINGS, SHAHS AND AYATOLLAHS John Osborne Friday 23 March 2018

Contemporary Iran, the product of the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini; the monumental architecture and reliefs of the ancient palace at Persepolis; the brilliant architecture and tilework of the mosques and palaces of the Islamic period.

 


 The first part of the day introduces the geographical, political and religious background, and explains how the Shi’a form of Islam originated and became the ruling creed in the late 20th century. It considers how visible aspects of traditional Persian culture have been changing over the last half century.

The second part illustrates the rich and mighty Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great which was contemporary with Classical Greece, and was ruled by great kings such as Darius and Xerxes. Their royal palace at Persepolis, destroyed by Alexander the Great, has monumental remains and a wealth of relief sculpture which reveals the ethos of the Persian empire, and the symbolism of kingship. There is mention of Zoroastrianism which was the official religion before the Islamic conquest.

The third part traces the development of architecture in the mosques and palaces, with an emphasis on their brilliant tilework and painting, through the Islamic period until the end of the 19th century. It highlights the splendid buildings of Shah Abbas’ early 17th century Isfahan. We will also cover some of Persia’s classic gardens, and the art of book illustration, with examples from the great period of Persian miniature painting and literature.

 


 

John Osborne read Classics at Cambridge, and taught for over thirty years at Marlborough College, where he was Senior Master. He also worked for several years in Iran and Turkey for the British Council, and developed a long standing interest in Islamic culture

He lectures regularly for the Arts Society, Bath University and at the Marlborough College Summer School, and guides at Salisbury Cathedral. Additionally he leads and lectures on specialist tours and cruises in SE Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East