For centuries, philosophers in India wrote that paintings should be looked at with insight. This talk is about the ways we look into paintings and about how paintings look back at us. It is about what a look does to us: how it conveys sound and feeling, how it can give us goosebumps and make us fall in love, and how it can enchant us to leave ourselves behind. Paintings once commanded that kind of look and people once yielded to it. Dangerous Enchantments explores the power that paintings of female ascetics, called yoginis, once had to bless or bedevil those who looked at them and to lure them into dangerous places of the mind and heart.
Molly Emma Aitken is Associate Professor of Art History at The Graduate Center and The City College of New York (CUNY). Her book publications include When Gold Blossoms: Indian Jewelry from the Susan L. Beningson Collection (London: Asia Society and Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004), and The Intelligence of Tradition in Rajput Court Painting (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), which won CAA’s Charles Rufus Morey award in 2011 and the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize in 2012. Aitken is currently working on a monograph about gender, eros and play in Mughal painting with the working title We Are All Women.
Sponsored by the Dept. of Asian Societies, Cultures, & Languages and the Joshi Family Fund at Dartmouth College.