In The Praiseworthy One: Devotional Images of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Traditions, Christiane Gruber discusses a number of paintings of the Prophet Muhammad produced in Persian and Turkish lands from the fourteenth century to the modern day. Ranging from veristic to abstract, these images represent Muhammad’s individual traits, primordial luminosity, and veiled essence. Their pictorial motifs reveal that artists engaged in abstract thought and turned to symbolic motifs in order to imagine Muhammad’s primordial origins and prophetic standing. Within a variety of Islamic expressive cultures, paintings thus function as a powerful means—among many—for devotional engagement with Muhammad, the “praiseworthy” Prophet and Messenger of Islam.
Christiane Gruber is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the History of Art Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interests span medieval Islamic art to contemporary visual culture. She has authored two books on Islamic texts and images of the Prophet Muhammad’s ascension and has edited several volumes on Islamic book arts, ascension texts and images, and visual and material culture.
This event is sponsored by the UIC Department of Art History.