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Article

[Mihr ‛Alī]

(fl c. 1795–1830).

Persian painter. He produced at least ten full-size oil paintings of the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834). One of the earliest (1797–8; Calcutta, Victoria Mem. Hall), a portrait of him kneeling on a carpet, was probably sent as a present to the amirs of Sind in 1800. Two fine portraits (1803–4 and 1804–5) were painted for the Hall of the Marble Throne in the Gulistan Palace, Tehran, and a third, of the King enthroned (undated; Versailles, Château), was sent to Napoleon. These early portraits show Fath ‛Ali Shah with a squat neck and round face, but Mihr ‛Ali’s drawings improved in the first decade of the 19th century and later portraits show the King with more flattering proportions. These later paintings include portraits of the King standing (1809–10; St Petersburg, Hermitage), kneeling and holding a mace (1813–14; St Petersburg, Hermitage), and a third with the date obliterated (London, B. W. Robinson priv. col.). Mihr ‛Ali’s finest portrait, and perhaps the finest ...

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Barbara Steindl

In 

Article

[Ashraf; ‛Alī Ashraf]

(fl c. 1735–80).

Persian painter. Known for a large number of painted and varnished (‘lacquered’) bookbindings, penboxes and mirror-cases (see Islamic art, §viii, 10), ‛Ali Ashraf worked in a small floral style with a characteristic motif of pansies or African violets on a black ground. His style, notable for its richness and delicacy, is derived directly from that of his teacher Muhammad Zaman but is standardized and simplified. His debt to his teacher can be seen in his signature, az ba‛d-i mu ḥammad ‛alī ashraf ast, which can be read as either ‘‛Ali [the Prophet’s son-in-law] is the noblest after Muhammad [the Prophet]’ or ‘‛Ali Ashraf is a follower of Muhammad [Zaman]’. This is the way he signed four mirror-cases with fine bird-and-flower designs (1740–1, Edinburgh, Royal Mus. Scotlandr, 1921–43; 1747, London, V&A, 758–1876; 1751–2, New York, Brooklyn Mus., 88.92; and 1755–6, London, J. Pope-Hennessy priv. col.) and a similar but undated penbox (Berne, Hist. Mus., 21–...

Article

Michelle Lespes

[Camelot]

(b Douai, Jan 12, 1702; d Paris, March 4, 1766).

French painter and collector . His father, Jean-Baptiste Havet, a doctor of Armenian origin, died when Aved was a child. He was brought up in Amsterdam by his step-father, a captain in the Dutch Guards. At 16 he is said to have become a pedlar or ‘camelot’ (hence the nickname given to him by his French acquaintances) travelling through the Netherlands, drawing portraits at fairs. In 1721, after spending short periods in the Amsterdam studios of the French engraver Bernard Picart and of the draughtsman François Boitard (1652–1722), he left the Netherlands to work in the Paris studio of the fashionable portrait painter Alexis-Simon Belle. At this time he met other notable painters including Carle Vanloo and the portrait painters Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Jean-Baptiste Perroneau and Jean-Etienne Liotard. He also formed a deep and lasting friendship with Jean-Siméon Chardin, with whom he may have collaborated on occasion; they used similar techniques, and he may have encouraged Chardin to turn from still-life painting to figure painting in the 1730s....

Article

[Mīrzā Bābā]

(fl c. 1795–1830).

Persian painter. Reportedly a native of Isfahan, he was employed by the Qajar family at Astarabad, as indicated by a signed drawing of a dragon and phoenix (1788–9; ex-Pozzi priv. col.). After Agha Muhammad (reg 1779–97) ascended the throne, Mirza Baba worked at the Qajar court in Tehran in a wide variety of materials, techniques and scales. His oil portrait (1789–90; Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.) of the Sasanian king Hurmuzd IV (reg ad 579–90) probably belonged to a series of historical portraits, for Mirza Baba painted a second series a decade later. One of the two surviving paintings from the later series (Tehran, A. H. Ibtihaj priv. col.) shows the Saljuq ruler Malikshah (reg 1072–92) with his two ministers. Other early works by Mirza Baba include a still-life with pomegranates, watermelon and flowers (?1793–4; Tehran, Nigaristan Mus.) and an arched panel showing Shirin Visiting Farhad as He Carves Mt Bisitun...

Article

Paul Hulton

(Antonio Melchiorre)

(b Bologna, Jan 14, 1737; d Gondar, Ethiopia, between 14 Feb and March 3, 1771).

Italian draughtsman and printmaker . He showed early artistic promise and was apprenticed to Giuseppe Civoli (1705–78), a Bolognese painter and professor of architecture at the Accademia Clementina in Bologna. As a student he won the gold medal for architectural design in an open competition at Parma in 1759. He was consequently elected an academician in Bologna at the early age of 22. For his patron, the count and senator Girolamo Ranuzzi, he drew and etched (c. 1760) a notable set of plates of the Palazzo Ranuzzi (now the Palazzo di Giustizia) in Bologna. In 1761 he moved to Rome and began to take commissions as an architectural draughtsman. Here he was recruited to assist the explorer James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730–94) to draw and record Classical remains. For about three years from March 1765 Balugani travelled with Bruce, recording most of the known Classical sites of North Africa and Asia Minor. When Bruce decided to extend his travels to Ethiopia, by way of Egypt and Arabia, to search for the source of the Nile, Balugani accompanied him and made numerous drawings of botanical and zoological specimens, despite having also to compile weather records and travel journals. He was with Bruce when the latter discovered the springs of the Blue Nile (which they believed to be the source of the main river) in ...

Article

[Muḥammad Bāqir]

(fl 1750s–1760s).

Persian painter. He is known for decorations in the margins of manuscripts, copies of European prints and 17th-century paintings, and wash drawings. His subjects range from floral sprays to nudes, such as the watercolour of a sleeping nymph (1765; Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., cat. no. 282.VI). He contributed paintings and marginal decorations to a sumptuous album (1758–9; St Petersburg, Hermitage), probably compiled for the Afsharid court historian Mirza Mahdi Khan Astarabadi. Muhammad Baqir’s punning signature there suggests that he was a pupil of ‛Ali Ashraf. Muhammad Baqir signed one of the finest marginal paintings in a smaller but similar album (1764; dispersed; sold Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 23 June 1982) and may have been responsible for all of them, which include rose sprays and copies of Susannah and the Elders. Muhammad Baqir is sometimes said to have continued to work under the Qajar ruler Fath ‛Ali Shah (...

Article

Marc Jordan

(b London, April 1, 1794; d Ely, Oct 16, 1845).

English architect. He was born into a wealthy and cultured family related to the Disraelis and the Ricardos, and he trained in John Soane’s office (1810–16), receiving what was then probably the best architectural education available in England, as in his watercolour of the staircase of Gower House, London (1813; London, Soane Mus.; see Chambers, william, fig.). In 1816 he began a tour of Italy and Greece, which was recorded in letters to his family (untraced; typescript London, Soane Mus.) and in drawings and sketches (London, Soane Mus.; see Jordan). After travelling via Paris to Turin, Florence, Rome, Venice and Vicenza, a meeting with C. R. Cockerell in Rome (1817) persuaded him to visit Greece; during 1818 he went via Naples to Thessaly, Constantinople and Athens, returning to Rome via Sicily.

In June 1819 Basevi was back in London at a moment when building activity was expanding after the depressed years immediately following the end of the Napoleonic Wars. His earliest commissions were minor alteration works for family friends or business acquaintances. In ...

Article

Joshua Drapkin

(b Azay-le-Ferron, Indre, June 3, 1756; d Versailles, Nov 1, 1827).

French draughtsman, engraver, sculptor and archaeologist. He received instruction in drawing from Joseph-Marie Vien, Jean-Jacques Lagrenée and Jean-Baptiste Le Prince. In 1778 he departed for Italy, where he developed his landscape draughtsmanship and his passion for antiquity. He travelled incessantly, recording everything he saw and venturing out from Rome to Venice, Naples and Sicily. An example of the numerous drawings he produced is the Ruins of the Baths of Titus Seen from the Colosseum (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). In 1782 a group of amateurs, under the patronage of Emperor Joseph II, commissioned from him a series of views of the Istrian and Dalmatian coast; these were eventually published in J. Lavallée’s Voyage pittoresque et historique de l’Istrie et de la Dalmatie. After a brief spell in France, Cassas followed Marie-Gabriel, Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier, to his new ambassadorial post in Constantinople in 1784. He subsequently visited Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Cyprus and Asia Minor, recording his impressions of Alexandria, Cairo, Smyrna, the Temple of Diana (Artemis) at Ephesos and the Palmyra and Baalbek ruins. Many of the 250 drawings dating from this trip were of hitherto unrecorded sights. With Choiseul’s assistance Cassas published these works in the ...

Article

Persian School, 18th century, male.

Calligrapher, illuminator.

This artist was a pupil of Hasan the Egyptian.