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Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Abū’l-Qāsim]

(fl c. 1816).

Persian painter. His only known work is a long composition depicting the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834) entertained by female musicians and dancers. The only surviving fragments of it are a painting of the shah (London, B. W. Robinson priv. col.) and three paintings of the entertainers (Tehran, Nigaristan Mus., ex-Amery priv. col.). The paintings of a woman playing a drum and of a woman playing a stringed instrument are signed raqam-i kamtarīn Abū’l-Qāsim (‘painted by the most humble Abu’l-Qasim’) and dated 1816, but the third painting showing a woman dancing is half-length and damaged. All the fragments share the same continuous architectural background and scale (a little less than life-size). Robinson has suggested that this mural might be the one described in the mid-19th century by the traveller Robert Binning, who reported that the house he occupied in Shiraz contained a painting of Fath ‛Ali Shah seated in state attended by ten women. The composition extended around three sides of the room and the figures were almost life-size. This identification suggests that Abu’l-Qasim might have been a native of Shiraz....

Article

[Muḥammad Ḥasan Khān Afshār]

(fl c. 1835–1865).

Persian painter. A noted court painter and portraitist under the Qajar rulers Muhammad Shah (reg 1834–48) and Nasir al-Din (reg 1848–96), Muhammad Hasan Afshar was awarded the title Painter Laureate (Pers. naqqāsh bāshī). A portrait dated 1847 in the Churchill Album (London, BL, Or. MS. 4938) depicts Muhammad Shah seated in a red tunic with blue sash and flashing diamonds. The artist’s most remarkable works are three life-size oil portraits of Nasir al-Din (Tehran, Gulistan Pal.; Tehran, Moghaddam priv. col. (see Robinson, 1991, fig.); and Isfahan, Chihil Sutun Palace, dated 1860). The artist also painted small varnished objects, such as a penbox dated 1846 (priv. col., see Robinson, 1989, fig.), which has a scene of the Last Judgement on the top and a Napoleonic battle scene on one side. The penbox was only finished in 1861 by Isma‛il Jalayir, who added a scene of the Qajar monarch Muhammad Shah in battle on the other side and a design and inscription on the base. Other members of the Afshar family also painted similar objects, such as another penbox with a scene of the Last Judgement (Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A., 73.5.159)....

Article

Ahmad  

[Aḥmad]

(fl 1815–50).

Persian painter. He specialized in oil portraits of the Qajar rulers Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834) and Muhammad (reg 1834–48). To judge from Ahmad’s style, he was a pupil of Mihr ‛Ali (see islamic art, §viii, 11(i)). His early works include two portraits of Fath ‛Ali Shah. One dated 1818–19 (untraced) shows the Shah, whose face has been repainted, in full armour seated on the chair-like throne known as the takht-i nādirī and part of the Iranian Crown Jewels. A second portrait dated 1822–3 (Tehran, Brit. Embassy) shows the ruler seated on a jewelled carpet with a hooka at his side. Ahmad’s later work is more Europeanized in style. A large painting dated 1844 (Tehran, Gulistan Pal. Lib.) depicts Muhammad reviewing his troops, and another oil dated 1846 (Tehran, Firuz priv. col.) is a fine bust portrait of the monarch. Two paintings of female acrobats have also been attributed to his hand on the basis of the bold palette, bravura treatment of pattern and use of white to delineate eyelids and forehead....

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Şeker Ahmet Pasha]

(b Üsküdar, Istanbul, 1841; d Istanbul, 1907).

Turkish painter. In 1859 he became an assistant teacher of painting at the Military Medical High School in Istanbul. In 1864 Sultan Abdülaziz (reg 1861–76) sent him to Paris where, after a preparatory education at a special Ottoman school, he studied painting in the studio of Gustave Boulanger and then under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Ahmet Ali was also instrumental in the acquisition of paintings from France for the Ottoman court. After nearly eight years of studies in Paris, he stayed in Rome for a year before returning to Istanbul, where he resumed his work at the Military Medical High School. In 1873 he organized in Istanbul the first group exhibition of paintings by Turkish and foreign artists to be held in Turkey. He was later appointed master of ceremonies at the Ottoman court and by the time of his death had risen to the office of intendant of the palace. His paintings were influenced by European art. They include landscapes, such as ...

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 ...

Article

Frederick N. Bohrer

Style of the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th, inspired by Assyrian artefacts of the 9th to 7th centuries bc. These were first brought to public attention through the excavations by Paul-Emile Botta (1802–70) at Khorsabad and Austen Henry Layard at Nimrud in the 1840s. By 1847 both the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London had begun to display these objects, the size and popularity of which were such that the Louvre created a separate Musée des Antiquités Orientales, while the British Museum opened its separate Nineveh Gallery in 1853. The same popularity, fuelled by Layard’s best-selling Nineveh and its Remains (London, 1849) and Botta’s elaborate Monument de Ninive (Paris, 1849–50), led to further explorations elsewhere in Mesopotamia.

Assyrian revivalism first appeared in England rather than France, which was then in political turmoil. The earliest forms of emulation can be found in the decorative arts, such as the ‘Assyrian style’ jewellery that was produced in England from as early as ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Konstantinovich)

(b Feodosiya [now Kaffa], July 29, 1817; d Feodosiya, June 2, 1900).

Russian painter of Armenian descent. The son of an Armenian merchant, throughout his life he kept his links with the ancient traditions of Armenian Christian culture. He studied at the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg, in 1833–7 under Maksim Vorob’yov (1787–1855), a prominent Russian landscape painter of the Romantic period. From 1845 Ayvazovsky worked predominantly in Feodosiya, an ancient city in the Eastern Crimea. He travelled widely in Russia and Europe, the Near East, Africa and America. Ayvazovsky’s first significant paintings testify to his attentive assimilation of the canons of Romantic seascape painting, going back to Claude Lorrain, as well as the influence of Vorob’yov and the late works of Sil’vestr Shchedrin. In Ayvazovsky’s early works the accurate rendering of views is combined with a classicist rationality of composition, as in View of the Seashore in the Environs of St Petersburg (1835; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.)

A purely Romantic view of the world and exaltation in the face of the boundless, eternally changing sea find mature expression in the works of the 1840s, when Ayvazovsky gained renown throughout Europe. A number of foreign academies made him an honorary member, and J. M. W. Turner wrote an enthusiastic ode in honour of one of his pictures. The best-known work of this period is the ...

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

[Āqā Buzurg]

(b Shiraz; fl c. 1840–60).

Persian painter. His portrait of the Qajar ruler Nasir al-Din (reg 1848–96) as Crown Prince (untraced) was done in 1846, as was a painting of a pheasant and partridge in the Churchill Album (London, BM, Or. MS. 4938). His finest piece is a varnished (‘lacquered’) penbox dated 1853 (Tehran, Mus. Dec. A.) decorated with penetrating portraits of the ministers of Prince Farhad Mirza, governor of Shiraz. The butt end of the penbox contains a self-portrait of the artist, showing him painting a penbox. Portraits continued to be his main subject, as on a pair of varnished book covers (priv. col., see Robinson, 1979, fig. 235) attributed to the end of his career. His portraits are notable for their realism and are similar in spirit to the work of his contemporary, the court painter Abu’l-Hasan Ghaffari (see Ghaffari family, §2).

B. W. Robinson: Persian Miniature Painting from Collections in the British Isles...

Article

W. Ali

(b Ghosta, 1852; d Beirut, 1930).

Lebanese painter. In 1870 he went to Rome and enrolled at the Academia di S Luca, where he trained under Roberto Bompiani (1821–1908), the Italian court painter, and was thus probably the first Arab artist to train abroad. During his five years in Italy, Corm studied the works of Renaissance artists, whose influence was evident throughout his works. He gained official recognition when he was commissioned to paint a portrait of Pope Pius IX (reg 1846–78). On his return to Lebanon in 1875, he painted portraits of many distinguished Arabs including Khedive Abbas II of Egypt (reg 1892–1914) in 1894. Corm was best known as a religious painter, and there are many of his paintings in churches in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Palestine. He trained under a number of pioneer artists, including Habib Srour (1860–1938) and Khalil Saleeby (1870–1928). His portraits are a source of information on national costumes of the period....

Article

Andrew W. Moore

(b London, June 6, 1804; d Adalia [now Antalya], Turkey, Sept 24, 1842).

English painter and etcher. In the early 1820s he rapidly developed his skills as an etcher. Three prints, Near Norwich, Whitlingham Staithe and Bure Bridge (all 1827), demonstrate his developed sensitivity of line. His watercolour study for Bure Bridge, Aylsham (1826; Norwich, Castle Mus.) testifies to his fluid use of wash freely applied over light pencil. Daniell also began to paint in oils and received a few lessons from John Linnell in 1828, the year he graduated at Oxford. In 1829 he began the first of his continental tours, returning late 1830. His etchings developed a freedom of line that moved away from the example of his friend and teacher, Joseph Stannard of Norwich, towards that of Andrew Geddes and the Scottish etchers, whose work he probably saw while in Scotland in the summer of 1831. He exhibited once with the Norwich Society in 1832. Daniell’s later etchings, ...

Article

Donald A. Rosenthal

(b Bordeaux, July 16, 1804; d Paris, Feb 18, 1868).

French painter, illustrator and writer. His early training was as a theatrical scene painter and a designer of lithographic illustrations. In Bordeaux he studied with Pierre Lacour (ii) (1778–1859) and worked with Thomas Olivier (1772–1839), chief scene designer at the Grand-Théâtre. He subsequently studied in Paris in the studio of the landscape and history painter Julien-Michel Gué (1789–1843) and worked for the decorators of the Théâtre Italien.

From 1827 Dauzats provided lithographic designs for Isidore-Justin-Séverin Taylor’s series Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France (1820–78). He travelled in the French provinces, particularly Champagne, Dauphiné and Languedoc, often sketching the medieval monuments that had come into vogue during the Romantic period.

Dauzats also collaborated on lithographs for many other publications, including Taylor’s Voyage en Orient. For this last project Dauzats travelled to Egypt, Syria, Palestine and Turkey in 1830, a trip that he described in his book ...

Article

(b La Roque d’Anthéron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Aug 19, 1777; d Paris, Feb 23, 1841).

French museum director, painter, printmaker, writer and military officer. He studied painting in Aix-en-Provence under Jean-Antoine Constantin, alongside his lifelong friend François-Marius Granet; further teachers included Jean-Jacques de Boissieu, Jean-Louis Demarne and, from 1796, Jacques-Louis David. He first exhibited at the Salon in that year. However, during the Empire he was chiefly celebrated as a soldier, writer and lover. He became Chamberlain and consort to Napoleon’s sister, Pauline Bonaparte, Princess Borghese, and was decorated for his conduct in the Portuguese and Austrian campaigns. In 1810 Charles Barimore, the most successful of his four Orientalist novels, was a great sensation in Empire boudoirs. Forbin’s most significant contributions to the history of art came when he returned to Paris after the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814.

Following his appointment in 1816 as Director of the Royal Museums, to succeed Vivant Denon, Forbin’s first concern was to minimize the repatriation of works of art acquired by force during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In ...

Article

James P. W. Thompson

(b La Rochelle, Oct 24, 1820; d Saint-Maurice, Aug 27, 1876).

French painter and writer. The wide skies and sweeping plains of his native Charente region left him with a love of natural beauty for which he later found affinities in Algeria and the Netherlands. From his youth he showed academic intelligence, literary talent and artistic aptitude. In 1839 he was sent to Paris to study law, but he became increasingly interested in drawing. Although his father, a skilled amateur artist who had studied with Jean-Victor Bertin, never became reconciled to his son’s desire to pursue painting as a career, Fromentin was sent to study with the Neo-classical landscape painter Jean-Charles-Joseph Rémond (1795–1875); however, he preferred the more naturalistic Nicolas-Louis Cabat. Fromentin developed slowly as an artist and began to show real promise as a landscape draughtsman only in the early to mid-1840s. He published his first important piece of criticism on the Salon of 1845.

From 3 March to ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

[Gigo] (Ivanovich)

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Nov 22, 1862; d Tsikhisdziri, Oct 28, 1936).

Georgian painter. He studied at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, where he was influenced by Gotfrid Villeval’de (1818–1903), painter of battle-scenes, and he held his first exhibition in 1891. He was also well acquainted with the Wanderers, and his Three Townsmen (1893; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.) displays his aspirations towards Critical Realism. Seeking new sources of inspiration Gabashvili travelled to Central Asia where studies and sketches similar to the work of Vasily Vereshchagin resulted in Bazaar in Samarkand (1896; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.; another version, 1897), in which a mastery of drawing is combined with commonplace colouring and weak composition. He also travelled to Munich but was not impressed by the modernism of German painters. In 1895, Il’ya Repin received a gold medal for his Zaporozhe Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan (main version 1880–91; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.), a painting that greatly influenced Gabashvili, who from ...

Article

Jon Whiteley

(b Montpellier, Dec 15, 1807; d Paris, Aug 8, 1893).

French painter. He was trained by Eugène Devéria and Achille Devéria and made his first appearance at the Salon, in 1836, with Luca Signorelli da Cortona (Avignon, Mus. Calvet) and Flight into Egypt (untraced), the first of a number of religious pictures painted in the 1840s in the pleasant, sentimental manner of Eugène Devéria’s religious work. The Humility of St Elizabeth of Hungary (exh. Salon, 1843; Montpellier, St Louis), Conversion of the Magdalene (1845; Nogent-sur-Seine, parish church) and Adoration of the Shepherds (1846; Quesnoy-sur-Airaine, parish church) belong to an idea of the Rococo common in the 1840s. Glaize’s interest in 18th-century French art is also evident in Blood of Venus (exh. 1846) and Picnic (both Montpellier, Mus. Fabre). This element was less obvious in the 1850s. In 1852 he exhibited a scene of the savage heroism of the Women of Gaul: Episode from the Roman Invasion (Autun, Mus. Rolin), one of the first pictures on a theme that appealed to a new interest in the history of Gaul in the Second Empire. Increasingly, he adopted subject-matter favoured by the ...

Article

Hilary Pyle

[Mary Catherine]

(b Dublin, March 11, 1863; d Dublin, July 16, 1955).

Irish painter. She was educated mainly at home, where she drew, painted and copied the family portraits. Although she exhibited Turkeys at the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1897, family obligations prevented her from studying art until c. 1910; she was taught in Paris by Kees van Dongen and later by Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa, and she spent each of the 15 subsequent winters in the city. She joined the French army as a nurse during World War I and received the Croix de Guerre in September 1915. From 1922 to 1925 she worked with André Lhôte, in the latter year holding her first solo exhibition in Paris, which helped to establish her as one of the first Irish artists associated with the Ecole de Paris. In 1925, having absorbed aspects of the work of Matisse, of Cubism and finally of the work of Marie Laurençin and Raoul Dufy, still maintaining Anglada-Camarasa’s rather hot colouring, she achieved a free, decorative manner of her own. She said in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Edhem, Osman Hamdi; Hamdi Bey]

(b Istanbul, Dec 30, 1842; d Eskihisar, Gebze, nr Istanbul, Feb 24, 1910).

Turkish painter, museum director and archaeologist. In 1857 he was sent to Paris, where he stayed for 11 years, training as a painter under Gustave Boulanger and Jean-Léon Gérôme. On returning to Turkey he served in various official positions, including two years in Baghdad as chargé d’affaires, while at the same time continuing to paint. In 1873 he worked on a catalogue of costumes of the Ottoman empire, with photographic illustrations, for the Weltausstellung in Vienna. In 1881 he was appointed director of the Archaeological Museum at the Çinili Köşk, Topkapı Palace, in Istanbul. He persuaded Sultan Abdülhamid II (reg 1876–1909) to issue an order against the traffic in antiquities, which was put into effect in 1883, and he began to direct excavations within the Ottoman empire. As a result he brought together Classical and Islamic objects for the museum in Istanbul, including the Sarcophagus of Alexander, unearthed in Sidon in ...

Article

Nonna S. Stepanyan

[Avnatamov; Ovnatanyan; Yovnat‘anyan]

Armenian family of artists active from the 17th to the late 19th century in manuscript illumination, church decoration, iconostasis painting, portrait painting and lithography. Naghash Hovnat‘an (1666–1721) was a poet and artist who painted churches in Erevan. In 1720–21 he decorated the cathedral at Ēdjmiadzin; decorative fragments (tempera on dry plaster) have survived, as well as a scene showing King Trdat III (reg 286–330), his wife Ashkhen and his sister Khosrovidukht at prayer. Hovnat‘an’s sons Hakop and Harut‘un (birth and death dates unknown) illuminated religious books (Erevan, Matenadaran Inst. Anc. Armen. MSS, MSS 8645, 2162, 1522), decorated churches and executed oil paintings on Gospel themes in imitation of European forms. Hakop’s son Hovnat‘an (1730s–1801/2) was court painter to Irakli II (reg 1744–98), King of Georgia. He painted a series of pictures on religious subjects, as well as portraits of prominent Armenian ecclesiastical figures. In ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Muḥammad Ja‛far]

(fl c. 1800–30).

Persian painter. He was the most prolific painter in enamels at the court of the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834), but unlike his contemporaries Baqir and ‛Ali, Muhammad Ja‛far did not attach a title to his name when he signed his work. One of his earliest works is an inkpot for a penbox (1805; sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 25 May 1964, lot 2) decorated with busts of a young man and a girl. His most impressive pieces are large objects made for official presentation to foreign dignitaries. He enamelled several large gold dishes that are decorated with a lion and sun in the centre panel surrounded by alternating birds and floral swags. One (1813; ex-Kazrouni priv. col.; sold London, Sotheby’s, March 1954, lot 867) was presented to Sir Gore Ouseley (1770–1844), the British ambassador to Iran, and another made of solid gold and weighing more than six pounds (...