Artist and Artwork: Hassan Massoudy
“The calligrapher must assimilate all aspects of culture that relate to his art. Practice awakens the knowledge gradually stored up in the body and releases the expression of a myriad of nuances. Calligraphiccodes serve to control the internal excitement and prevent his feelings from overflowing… but the calligrapher must pass beyond these set rules. To achieve his aim, he must first conform to these restrictions, and then go beyond them. This is because a true calligraphic composition must contain something indefinable, something elusive and powerful that takes it beyond the rules”
Born in 1944, Massoudy is an Iraqi painter currently living in Paris. He is considered as one of greatest living calligrapher of 21st century. Massoudy grew up in traditional society of Najaf and later in 1961 moved to Baghdad where he started to learn calligraphy from various calligraphers and eventually exhibited a talent for classic Arabic calligraphy. He relocated to Paris in 1969 to escape the rising conflicts in his country. And in Paris he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied a number of traditional Western painting techniques.
Massoudy often bases his compositions on texts from poets, authors, and philosophers from both the Arab and European culture. His one such work is ‘Woman is a Ray of Divine Light’ painted in 1987, which is based on the words of a 13th-century Sufi poet, Rumi. For Massoudy, reproducing a poem in calligraphy means more than simply presenting it in a particular style, rather it enables him to grasp the inner meaning of the words. Massoudy continues to live and work in Paris, France and continues to influence calligraphy artists of our generation.