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  • Flower Study

    Artist:
    Muhammad-Mahdi
    Technique:
    gouache
    Dimensions:
    31x20,5 cm

Muhammad-Mahdi

Flower Study

Iran, Mid-18th century

Iranian artists of the Isfahan school regularly turned to the depiction of birds and flowers; for some, such as Muhammad Mahdi, this genre would seem to be the main one of their work. Contributing to this tendency was the symbolism of flowers in Muslim art. The iris, for instance, was a holy flower of Islam - some of its petals point upwards towards Allah, while others drop down towards the earth; yet others are level, as if indicating Man himself. Roses, tulips, carnations and lotus flowers also had allegorical meanings. This miniature shows a lush yellow and red iris and, together with another flower composition it formed one spread of an album which has not survived. Such albums - known as muraqqa' - had symmetrical arrangements of similarly painted compositions and samples of calligraphy, forming a kind of miniature picture gallery. Usually the sheets of any one spread were of the same type and size. In this case the miniatures are set into identical frames of coloured bands and are stuck onto blue cardboard (see Flower Study by Shaykh; VP-551). This "fantasy" of different flowers seems to grow from a single root. A natural approach to certain details in these flatly-treated flowers is combined with decorative devices, such as the long green leaf decorated with another stem of little flowers.

Author:

Title:

Flower Study

Place:

Technique:

gouache

Dimensions:

31x20,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1924; transferred from the Stieglitz Museum collection

Inventory Number:

VР-548

Category:

Collection:

Subcollection: