Arts of the empire-builders: Timurids, Safavids and Mughals

Course Dates: 11/01/24 - 28/03/24
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Online
Patronage under the Timurids, Safavids and Mughals marked a definitive period in the development of the arts and culture of the Islamic world. This course looks at the visual ‘brands’ that characterised these important empires.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £191.00 Concession £155.00

Course Code: VB438

Thu, day, 11 Jan - 28 Mar '24

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

At the cusp of the 14th and 15th centuries, the legendary military leader and empire-builder Amir Timur Kuragan requisitioned artisans from the lands he conquered in order to forge a defining image that was taken up and enhanced by his successors during the 15th century.
Timurid patrons and their artists across centres in Central Asia and Iran redefined the arts and culture of the Islamic world, establishing a style that served as a basis for the subsequent development of the arts under the Safavids of Iran and the Mughals of India during the 16th and 17th centuries.

This course will focus on key patrons of the Timurid, Safavid and Mughal dynasties, the formation of their imperial workshops at important centres of the arts, and the cultural and diplomatic interactions between the three empires that influenced their artistic vision.

We will look at architecture, painting, the book-arts, and the decorative arts including metal-ware, jewellery, textiles and ceramics, and how these combined to create a coherent and distinctive image of each dynasty and a lasting legacy on the visual culture of Iran and South Asia. Because this period is unusually rich in contemporary accounts and histories, we shall also examine some of the primary sources written by local authors and foreign visitors to the royal courts.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• The dates and places covered by the Timurid, Safavid and Mughal Dynasties.
• The development of art during these dynasties through patronage and royal workshops
• The names and background of key patrons and artists
• Relationships between these dynasties and with other parts of the world.
• Architecture, painting, books and decorative arts.
• Contemporary literary references, and traveller’s accounts of court life.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Give an overview of the key patrons of the Timurid, Safavid and Mughal dynasties
• Recognize the artistic styles of each dynasty.
• Describe how the royal workshops functioned.
• List at least three of the key artists covered in course and discuss the impact of their work.
• Identify three writers and their works which are important in the analysis of the art of this period.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information as well as basic functions of Zoom, specifically microphone and camera.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course. You will be provided with handouts containing key reference information, including recommended reading lists.

These materials will be available online/digitally for download via a Google Classroom. You will be invited to join this Google Classroom within a week of the start of your course.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might also be interested in:
Islamic art in the medieval world
Islamic art in 25 objects.

Anita Chowdry

Anita Chowdry is a London based visual artist, educator and researcher. Her particular interest is in the arts of the Islamic World and South Asia, and the materials and processes that went into them. She has an M.A. in Art and Science from Central Saint Martin’s UAL, and is currently engaged in the codicological study of a group of 15th Century Turcoman manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Anita has over 30 years’ experience teaching art and process to adults and professional groups, covering major institutions in the UK and abroad.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.