Mika Natif

Mika Natif

Mika Natif

Associate Professor of Art History; Director of Graduate Studies


Email: Mika Natif


A specialist in Islamic art, Mika Natif focuses on the intercultural exchanges and global connections that Muslim societies forged with the European sphere during the premodern period. Her primary field of research is Islamic painting, with special interest in Central Asia, Iran, India, and the Mediterranean. Natif recently published her book titled Mughal Occidentalism: Artistic Encounters Between Europe and Asia at the Courts of India, 1580-1630 (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

Her current research explores notions of images, diversity, and religious tolerance in the arts of Mughal India, female portraiture, and the role of women as patrons and artists in the pre-modern Persianate spheres. She also co-edited and co-authored, with Francesca Leoni, Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art (Surrey: Ashgate Publications, October 2013).


Current Research

Natif is currently working on a book dedicated to the life, portraits, and patronage of Hamida Banu Begum in Mughal India.



  • Mughal Occidentalism: Artistic Encounters Between Europe and Asia at the Courts of India, 1580-1630 (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
  • Co-editor and co-author of Eros and Sexuality in Islamic Art (Ashgate, September 2013).
  • “Preliminary thoughts on portraits of Mughal women in illustrated histories from Akbar’s time.” In Reflections on Mughal Art and Culture, edited by Roda Ahluwalia (Mumbai: K R Cama Oriental Institute; New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2021), pp. 39-52.
  • “Between Heaven and Earth: The Illustration of the Death of Moses in Rashid al-Din’s Jami al-Tawarikh (World History).” In Exodus: Border Crossings in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Texts and Images, edited by Annett Hoffmann (Berlin: De Gruyter Academic Publishing, 2020), 145-162.
  • “Renaissance Painting and Expressions of Male Intimacy in a Seventeenth-Century Illustration from Mughal India.” Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Reforme 38, no. 4 (Fall 2015): 41-63. [Natalie Zemon Davis Prize for the best publication of the volume 38 of Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Reformation].
  • “The Painter’s Breath and Concepts of Idol Anxiety in Islamic Art.” In Idol Anxiety, edited by Josh Ellenbogen and Aaron Tugendhaft (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 41-55. [special mention in CHOICE, March 2012].



M.A. (2000) in Central Asian History. Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Department of Central Eurasian Studies. 
M.A. (2002) in Islamic Art and Architecture. New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, New York, NY.      
Ph.D (2006) in Art History, New York University.