High Museum’s ‘Bestowing Beauty’ A Testament To The Magnificence Of Persian Art

Star Tile, Iran (Kashan) or Takht-i Sulayman, possibly AH 690/1291–1292 featured in the exhibition.

The High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art’s latest exhibition “Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands” features nearly 100 different works highlighting the vast artist traditions of Iranian civilization spanning from the sixth to the 19th centuries.

The works come from the Hossein Afshar Collection, one of the world’s largest private collections of Persian art.

The featured art includes a wide range of different mediums, including textiles, carpets, manuscripts, paintings, metalwork and ceramics.

Monica Obniski, the High’s curator of decorative arts and design, said of the new exhibition: “We are pleased to present High visitors with stunning works from several centuries of Persian cultural production. This rich artistic tradition demonstrates universal themes of humanity and reminds us that art serves to connect people across cultures.”

She joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes for a conversation about the exhibition, which is on view through April 18.

Interview Highlights

On the importance of this exhibition coming to the High Museum:

“Our director, Rand Suffolk, thought it would be a great show to bring to Atlanta. I really see it as part of our broader kind of diversity and inclusion efforts. As you well know, we don’t have an Islamic collection at the High. So it’s really nice to be able to show other forms of art-making to our Atlanta audiences.”

On the beauty of the “King Umberto II Polonaise” Carpet:

“The design is kind of curving lines and beautifully colored threads. But I love the  story behind the carpet and why these carpets really helped Iranian culture. … These carpets were really a kind of form of conspicuous consumption. And that’s something that I think we can all understand these days. And as you look at the carpet, and you can understand that because the carpet’s actually woven with gold and silver, in addition to these kind of bright threads.”