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"The Sensuous and the Sublime: Representations of Love in the Arts of the Middle East and Southern Asia"
2001-07-07 until 2001-12-30
Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum
Cambridge, MA, USA United States of America

Love, one of the most powerful of human emotions, can motivate us to seek heights of spiritual ecstasy and perform acts of selflessness and compassion. Thwarted love can manifest in obsessive and reckless behavior. This exhibition presents many facets of love, sacred and profane, as expressed in the artwork of Iran, India, Tibet, and Nepal, produced during the 13th to 19th centuries.

Inspired by a wealth of sacred literature, lyric poetry, and folk tales, artists often created paintings and sculptures that could be read alternately as visualizations of overt sensuality or as symbols of spiritual union. In these beautiful works, earthly and divine lovers participate in the dance of love: a prince dallies with his wife, celestial couples embrace, a mother nurtures her child, and a priest piously worships his personification of God.

IMAGE:
India, Rajasthan, Kishangarh,
An Encounter at a Well, c. 1745.
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper,
29.1 x 17.2 cm.
Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith, 1972.350


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