Cover image for Mostly miniatures : an introduction to Persian painting
Mostly miniatures : an introduction to Persian painting
Grabar, Oleg.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Peinture persane. English
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
vii, 168 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ND3241 .G6713 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



A wide appreciation of Persian art has only been felt in the last hundred years or so. In this study, Oleg Grabar presents a good introduction to Persian painting, especially miniatures illustrating literary works, and some murals and decorated ceramics. Dating from c.1300 to c.1700, this is a history of the technique of painting, of its main techniques and subject matter, the use of space and colour, the depiction of emotion, and so on. The book ably combines the historical framework with an aesthetic appreciation of the art, with many illustrated examples.

Author Notes

Oleg Grabar is Professor Emeritus at the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Formerly Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art at Harvard University and the author of such books as The Meditation of Ornament, Grabar here introduces Western readers to Persian painting, which consists mainly of miniatures. Grabar wants us to understand Persian culture, examining the art in its historical context and then carefully discussing its defining features. After discussing historiography and the sources of painting in Persia, the author provides some fascinating insights into the historical and cultural context in which the paintings were produced. What results is an invaluable guide to the topic whose informative, well-written text and beautifully reproduced illustrations attest to the author's depth of knowledge. The works shown are chosen from a very wide variety of sources. This is a scholarly book that can also be enjoyed by the uninitiated; recommended for most collections. Martin Chasin, Adult Inst., Bridgeport, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Graber (emer., Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton) has made many contributions to the study of early Islamic art and now turns his considerable powers to the study of the art of Persian painting. The study covers pre-Islamic and Persian painting from the 7th century to 1730. The relatively brief text consists of five chapters on historiography, sources and resources, historical and cultural context, major themes of Persian painting, and finally, toward an aesthetic of Persian painting. His focus is manuscript painting during the years from 1290 to 1730. With his usual enthusiasm, he examines the state of the scholarship in the field that began more than 100 years ago. Persian painting is a courtly, mainly secular art, limited to the princely, aristocratic courts. Graber thoughtfully suggests that future scholarship should be as all-encompassing as possible and drawn from as many sources as feasible. He offers many ways to work toward future avenues of research, all of which will benefit upcoming scholars of Persian painting. The general public will benefit from his advice to examine the paintings for the personal pleasure of entering a very private world. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. C. Kane formerly, New York School of Interior Design

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 2
Chapter 1 A Little Historiographyp. 6
Chapter 2 Sources and Resourcesp. 14
Chapter 3 Historical and Cultural Contextp. 30
Chapter 4 The Major Themes of Persian Paintingp. 82
Chapter 5 Toward an Aesthetic of Persian Paintingp. 122
Notesp. 148
Bibliographyp. 157
Indexp. 162
Photo Creditsp. 168

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