What artists write about

Any reader of Claudio Monteverdi's Letters, if he opens them hoping to learn something about the great man's take on art and music, is bound to be disappointed: the Letters contain nothing but matters of jobs, appointments and vacancies, promotions, pay, arrears, pay increase requests (usually rejected), reimbursement of job-related expenses, etc.

In this, it turns out, Monteverdi's Letters are universal. This is the typical artist prose.

Take this folio, signed by Muzaffar-'Ali, 1b of manuscript R. 957, at the Topkapi library, addressed to his sponsor, the great Bahram Mirza, a famous patron of books and younger brother of Shah Tahmasp (the one who, having stopped drinking coffee in his old age lost his mind, says Orhan Pamuk, and dispersed his atelier):


The beautifully dressed youth is Muzaffar-'Ali himself. And this is what he holds in his hand:

The calligraphy reads:

Royal Highness

Your servant, Muzaffar-'Ali, would like to bring to Your Highness's attention that it is known to Your Highness that the wages of this humble one while working for Your Highness were six tuman and now they are three tuman, and this situation has deeply distressed this humble one.

It then trails off:

Whatever Your Highness command...


Anonymous said...


I am attempting to get in contact with the writer of this blog. I can't find any contact information here.

I am on the Science Desk at National Public Radio(NPR) in the USA and we are planning to reference this blog and Muzaffar-'Ali's message here in comparison to scientists requesting funds from the US Government.

So, I'm looking to confirm the name of the writer of this blog (if they so wish), the language of script in the image and the source of the image and usage rights.

Could you please contact me? I would appreciate it greatly.


Anonymous said...


I work at the Science Desk at National Public Radio in the USA and we would like to request the usage of the images in this blog post for our website. Are you the copyright owner of these images? Please contact me at jmakiri@npr(dot)org.


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