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Fatima Al Hajj (Lebanese, b. 1953)
Fatima Al Hajj (Lebanese, b. 1953)

Al Nahda Al Ilmiya inda Al Arab (The Arab Scientific Renaissance)

Fatima Al Hajj (Lebanese, b. 1953)
Al Nahda Al Ilmiya inda Al Arab
(The Arab Scientific Renaissance)
signed in Arabic; signed and dated ‘Fatima El Hajj 14’ (lower right of the right-most panel)
oil on canvas, in three parts
each: 76 ¾ x 44 7/8 in. (195 x 114cm.)
overall: 76 3/4 x 134 2/3 in. (195 x 342cm.)
(3)Painted in 2014
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

The selected work is a magnificent painting from the renowned painter, Fatima Al Hajj. Al Hajj dedicates this piece to her Arabic culture, more specifically, the Islamic Golden Age and the scientific renaissance that it sparked. This triptych refers to the major role of Arabs in the discovery and development of the sciences, a topic which is widely overlooked. Al-Hajj is deeply fascinated by the variety and complexity of the sciences, a feeling depicted beautifully within this sprawling composition that is scattered with symbols and themes that pay homage to the ever-growing history of science.

Within the work, the center of the piece refers to architecture and geography, especially embodied by the symbol of the traveler, represented by various figures that have been abstracted to the point of merging with their surroundings. On either side of the center piece, she uniquely depicts themes of anatomy and medicine, as her expressionist style overtakes the figurative symbols which are deeply infused in the three sections. Upon closer inspection, the viewer can see the frame of a machine in the top left corner, resembling an electric motor to allude to the discovery of electricity. A group of students, which can be seen to the left of the center, embodies the existential theme of knowledge and ongoing education.

Al-Hajj manages to employ her distinct style within this work, regardless of subject matter. Her mastery of landscape paintings is evident as the triptych is used to capture a vast space filled with various subjects. The deep yellow hue that encompasses the painting ties the many scientific references harmoniously, as she contrasts this with hints of blue and red, achieving a lyrical atmosphere. Al-Hajj typically paints on large canvases such as the present work, as it allows an ease of transition to the verge of abstraction.
The artist strives to remind her audience that this period existed with great importance in the general timeline of science, taking the viewer to a time far before the domination of Western beliefs and the effect they have on the rest of the world. Her many references in this composition stress that the foundation of science must not be overlooked in terms of its contributors.

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