With many illustrations and diagrams, 'Images of Thought' provides easy to follow ways in which to read Indian, Persian and European paintings in terms of composition, proportion, colour symbolism and references to myth. Yet it also provides the intellectual contexts of Islamic cultures which inform our perceptions of how this visual language works. The author uses salient aspects of critical theory, anthropology and theology to sensitise viewers to the diversity and difference of cultural readings but never loses sight of the primacy of the visual and formal characteristics, gestures, geometrical structures and their cooperation with myths and theologemes. The book provides access to one of the world's major visual traditions whose characteristics continue to inform and elucidate Indian and Islamic contemporary thought today. 'Images of Thought' is a major, scholarly and provocative contribution not only to our understanding of cultural individuality but it offers important examples of how to engage in transcultural understanding and ways of seeing.
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Gregory Minissale completed his PhD in art history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Co-editor of Drain, a journal of contemporary art, he taught at graduate and undergraduate levels in the US for several years before returning to the UK to lecture at the University of Reading and London Metropolitan University. He is now an independent scholar.Review:
"Images of Thought, centrally focused on Islamic art, is an integrated study of visuality in the art of India, Persia and Europe [...] Minissale's systematic interpretation of the visual language and subject matter of a Mughal miniature adds to our knowledge. His methodical description of the constituents of composition explained by the demarcated lines delineated on the figures reflects his remarkable understanding of the visual arts. Minissale has endeavoured to read the whole aesthetic experience of Persian and Mughal painting [...] In explaining the visual language of the Mughal miniatures accommodating European signs and symbols Minissale goes further than the analyses of Richard Ettinghausen, Robert Skelton and Ebba Koch." -Som Prakash Verma, Journal of Islamic Studies, May 2008; Vol. 19, No. 2
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