Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy
Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1887-1947), described by Heinrich Zimmer as “That noble scholar upon whose shoulder we are still standing”, was one of the world’s greatest art historians and scholars of traditional iconography. He knew thirty-six languages and admitted he did “actually think in both Eastern and Christian terms, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Pali and to some extent Persian and even Chinese.”
While serving as a curator to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the latter part of his life, he devoted his work to the explication of traditional metaphysics and symbolism. His writings of this period are filled with references to Plato, Plotinus, Clement, Philo, Augustine, Aquinas, Shankara, Eckhart and the Rhinish and oriental mystics
Born in Ceylon, educated in his mother’s homeland England, he became one of the world’s greatest art historians and scholars of traditional iconography. He served as curator in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until his death, having been the first Oriental to make the meaning of oriental art understood in the West. He played an important role in the collection of Persian Art for the Freer in Washington, D.C. and the Boston Museum of Fine Art as well.
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