I am writing today to share an announcement and some related thoughts about the utility of archival resources for the study of Samarra and Islamic art.
Along with the announcement, I wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight a group of documents from the first released series that I found to be particularly interesting. Needless to say, there is much of interest in the Herzfeld Papers. Many drawings, for example, document buildings that have been altered or even destroyed, providing valuable data on endangered cultural resources. Others are simply beautiful to look at in and of themselves. Herzfeld’s talents as a trained architect come through strongly in his meticulous renderings of ornamental details and his analytical sections and plans. The group of drawings I want to showcase, however, is neither particularly pleasing to the eye nor contains information about a specific monument or object. In fact, they do not illustrate Herzfeld’s findings at all, but rather document Herzfeld’s interest in the work of another European scholar.
|Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Metropolitan Museum of Art, eeh444|
Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Metropolitan Museum of Art, eeh606
Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Metropolitan Museum of Art, eeh608
Ernst Herzfeld Papers, Metropolitan Museum of Art, eeh605
The four pages shown above are torn from an 8 x 12 cm notebook. Each contains a sketch of a vegetal motif along with Herzfeld’s shorthand notes and references to page and figure numbers. All are copied from the same source: a book written by the Viennese art historian Alois Riegl (d. 1905), entitled Stilfragen.