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Cracking the Code: Glimpses into the Making of a Mughal Album Folio from the I Tatti Collection

Assembly of Literary Figures, folio from an album of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, Uzbekistan, Bukhara, Shaybanid period, 1525–45, and India, probably Agra, Mughal period, c. 1615. Ink, colors, and gold on paper.
Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence, TL41534.7.

Lecture M. Victor Leventritt Lecture

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event was recorded. View the lecture here.

Scholars are just beginning to understand Mughal albums—elusive, eclectic, palimpsest-like assemblages of paintings and calligraphy. A close look at an early 17th-century imperial Mughal folio acquired by art collector Bernard Berenson in 1911 yields new information about how it and albums like it were made. In this lecture, scholar Laura Parodi will discuss aspects of the album that offer clues to the anonymous artists who compiled such albums, giving us insight into the artists’ techniques and the shortcuts they used to work efficiently and to the full satisfaction of their patrons. What begins as a tale of two collectors—Bernard Berenson and the Mughal emperor Jahangir—turns into an intricate story with multiple voices, challenging Western assumptions about authorship.

Following the lecture, the exhibition A New Light on Bernard Berenson: Persian Paintings from Villa I Tatti will be open for one hour.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Please enter the museums via the entrance on Broadway. Doors will open at 5:30pm.

Free admission. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.