The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU | 1 E 78th St.
Passionate Connoisseurship in Mughal India
Molly Aitken, City College and Graduate Center, CUNY
Allison Busch, Columbia University
Thursday, April 6, 2017
6:00 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
followed by a reception
Please note that seating in the Lecture Hall is on a first-come, first-served basis with RSVP. There will be a simulcast in an adjacent room to accommodate overflow. Latecomers are not guaranteed a seat.
In this talk art historian Molly Aitken and literary scholar Allison Busch speak about their collaboration, “Aesthetic Worlds of the Indian Heroine,” in which they explore Mughal India’s deep engagements with classical aesthetics through paintings and poems about female beauty. Mughal-period cultural life turned on the pivot of rasa or aesthetic emotion, especially the emotion of love. To be a passionate connoisseur was one of the highest ideals in early modern Indian society. Aitken and Busch’s lecture addresses the formal and thematic strategies painters and poets devised to orchestrate—through a collaboration of text and image—the intense aesthetic experiences of longing that were so valued in this period. Evidence suggests connoisseurs experienced the arts as a form of self-cultivation and a means to strengthen bonds of love and friendship. The lecture highlights the importance of aesthetics and especially the idea of passion in shaping the social and political worlds of Mughal India’s men and women.