Gerry Baptist - The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Aquatints inspired by Edward Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

The paintings and aquatints are my spiritual reaction to the philosophy conveyed in the Rubaiyat- which contrast in a fundamental way, the emotions of life and mortality. The narrative in this series of pictures gestated in my mind for many years, the seed sown by my father reading some of the verses to me when I was a child in India. It was only later in life when I re-read the Rubaiyat that I found that it revived in me images of my childhood. They resonated with memories not only of my father’s delight in the philosophy of the work but also of living in India with its vibrant colours and unique atmosphere.

Philosopher, mathematician, poet and astronomer, Omar Khayyam was Persian and is thought to have died around 1122. Edward Fitzgerald’s translation has remained a classic translation of the original quatrains- the most well known is:

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
And Wilderness is Paradise e’now.

© Gerry Baptist 2020