Charles Hossein Zenderoudi

The Golden Shower, 1966

Image for The Golden Shower, 1966

The title of this calligraphic work may allude to the ancient Greek myth of Zeus and Danaë, in which the god miraculously impregnates the beautiful mortal via a golden shower in order to produce a male heir, Perseus. It is uncertain whether Zenderoudi was familiar with the myth, but the story has often been treated in the history of art, most famously by Titian in a series of paintings from the mid-16th century. In this work by Zenderoudi, the myth may bear additional significance, since Perseus is the namesake of Persia, the name given to the region by the Greeks. The artist’s non-figurative treatment separates this possible iteration from other depictions of the theme. Zenderoudi has said, “I am a scholar in calligraphy but I am not a calligrapher. I paint; I don’t do letters.”1 His use of Persian letterforms as a painterly artistic language to narrate the story suggests a deep engagement with the forms themselves. Repetition lessens their legibility as singular characters, and the line’s conceptual path remains. 1. Myrna Ayad and James Perry, “The Letter as a Sonata,” Canvas 5, no. 5 (2009).

Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 39 1/4 x 78 in.
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Donor Gift of Abby Weed Grey
Object ID G1975.121

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Collection Years: 1966