Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Islamic Art History, Department of History of Art and Architecture
David J. Roxburgh grew up in the Borders, Scotland, and attended Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art from 1983 until 1988 where he received an M.A. with Honors in Fine Art. His degree combined history of art with studio practice (school of sculpture). He won a Thouron Fellowship for a one-year exchange program at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1988 and enrolled in the doctoral program in the Department of History of Art. He carried out his doctoral thesis research in Istanbul and completed the thesis in Washington, D.C., as a fellow at the Smithsonian Institution and Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, in 1996.
Texts of the Persian literary tradition that were illustrated constitute our focus, including Firdawsi's Shahnama and Nizami's Khamsa. Study of word and image is staged through key examples to open new lines of inquiry.
“Say it!” the angel Gabriel commanded Muhammad, who had been chosen to channel the message of Allah to mankind. “Write it,” the angel might have said, because the words the prophet recited became a book, the Koran. And in the hands of artists over the centuries that book became a devotional object of surpassing beauty.
With all eyes on Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, now would seem an ideal time for London's Royal Academy of Arts to stage what is probably the world's greatest ever exhibition of Turkish art and culture. The exhibition opens on Saturday 22 January.