The Hybrid Ontology of Early Mughal Painting

3rd October 2019
Aga Khan Centre
10 Handyside Street
King's Cross
United Kingdom

17:00 – 18:00 

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In this lecture, Dr Gonzalez will present key points from her book “Aesthetic Hybridity in Mughal Painting, 1526-1658” (Ashgate, November 2015). This early Modern material is known for and characterised by its pictorial hybridity that singled it out among the coeval variegated Persianate productions. Although all these productions inspired by Persian models display greatly diversified visual expressions lending them mixed stylistic appearances, Mughal painting constitutes a unique case of hybridity as it draws from a wider and culturally more differentiated spectrum of artistic sources and references. Hybridity is in Mughal painting not only a feature of style, but it also defines its very pictorial ontology and aesthetic metaphysics. Dr Gonzalez will discuss this problematic in expounding issues of methodology, notably the issue of the determining difference between stylistic and conceptual hybridity, wrongly collapsed in the historiography.

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Dr Valerie Gonzalez

Valérie Gonzalez is Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. She is a specialist of Islamic art history, aesthetics and visual culture. She obtained a PhD in Islamic Studies, University of Provence Aix-Marseille, and a Master of Fine Arts, School of Fine Arts, Marseille-Luminy. Her research addresses fundamental conceptual issues and creative processes in the Islamic artistic practices past and present such as figurality, abstraction, pictorial metaphysics or the philosophy of ornament. Her work relies on an interdisciplinary methodology ranging from art criticism and theory, aesthetic phenomenology and philosophy to linguistics, as well as the comparison with other global arts. She also writes critical texts for contemporary artists of Muslim heritage and/or interested in Islamic aesthetics. She was awarded scholarships from institutions such as the Kunsthistorisches Institut-Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, The Getty Research Institute, the Aga Khaninfo-icon Program for Islamic Architecture in MIT, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Her books include: Aesthetic Hybridity in Mughal Painting, 1526-1658, Ashgate 2015; Le piège de Salomon, La pensée de l'art dans le Coran, Albin Michel, 2002, and Beauty and Islam, Aesthetics of Islamic Art and Architecture IBTauris, 2001. In 2004, her article “The Comares Hall in the Alhambra and James Turrell’s Space that Sees: A Comparison of Aesthetic Phenomenology, (Muqarnas, 20) won the Eisenstein Prize.