Monday, July 20, 2009

Riza Abbasi: Biography

Agha Reza Reza-e Abbasi (also Riza Abbasi) (1565 - 1635) was the most renowned Persian miniaturist, painter and calligrapher of the Isfahan School, which flourished during the Safavid period under the patronage of Shah Abbas I.
He is considered to be one of the foremost Persian artists of all time. He received his training in the atelier of his father, Ali Asghar, and was received into the workshop of Shah Abbas I at a young age.

At the age of about 38 he received the honorific title of Abbasi from his patron, but soon left the Shah's employ, apparently seeking greater freedom to associate with simple people. In 1610 he returned to the court and continued in the employ of the Shah until his death.
His specialty was the Persian miniature, with a preference for naturalistic subjects often portrayed in an effeminate and impressionistic manner,[1] a style which came to be popular during the late Safavid court.

Many of his works depict handsome youths, often in the role of saqi, or "wine pourer," who at times are the focus of the admiring gaze of an older man and according to Louis Crompton, a manifestation of the Persian tradition of "appreciating youthful male beauty" (2003, p.171).

Today his works can be found in the museum that bears his name in Tehran, as well as in many of the major museums of the West, such as the Smithsonian, the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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