IN THE WORLD OF MINIATURE

“Viewing miniatures or “perfected art” is a way to achieve a kind of glimpse of eternity.” My name is Red, Orhan Pamuk
The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.”My name is Red, Orhan Pamuk

Miniature is a style of painting that from its beginning, around the early 7th century, has been associated with the demand for illustration and beautification of documents and manuscripts. It is most often used to convey a certain message, be it of a poetical, fictional, philosophical, or religious nature, thus in these regards miniature is closely related to the art of graphic design.

In this cycle of paintings I do not create true miniatures. Instead, I take elements from this style of painting which was widely utilized in old manuscripts and wall paintings, and apply them to contemporary themes and topics or impressions from my travels in the Orient. It is dedicated to the great miniaturists from Qazvin, Samarkand, Shiraz, Herat, Bukhara, Isfahan and Tabriz, who continue teaching me to this day to patiently observe details in the surrounding world. A lot of the images in this cycle represent nature, trees, plants, birds, horses, mythical creatures and elements, as well as architectural elements. These themes follow naturally from the older cycle of paintings dedicated to Trees and Flowers in Time as the philosophy of miniature art has always been closely bound to their creators’ spiritual communion to nature.

The German-Swiss art historian Titus Burckhardt (1908-1984) wrote that “…the beauty of the art form comes not from the scenes portrayed but from the nobility and simplicity of the poetical atmosphere that pervades them – a kind of Edenic reverberation.” One of the basic themes of the miniature is the “transfigured landscape”, symbolizing both the earthly paradise and the heavenly land, which while being hidden from the eyes of fallen humanity, remains existent in the world of spiritual light that is manifest to God’s saints. It is an unshadowed landscape, in which each object is made of exceedingly precious substance and where every tree and flower is unique of its kind.

Art of Islam, Language and Meaning (Library of Perennial Philosophy Sacred Art in Tradition), March 16, 2009, Titus Burckhardt, Jean-Louis Michon, Seyyed Hussein Nasr