Mihr Ali

Portrait of Fath Ali Shah Standing

Portrait of Fath Ali Shah Standing
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Mihr Ali
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 253x124 cm
Origin: Iran, 1809-1810, Qajar Dynasty

Fath Ali Shah is shown according to the European tradition of state portraiture, standing full length. In his right hand is a sceptre topped with a figure of a hoopoe, the prophetic bird of King Solomon , as mentioned in the Koran. The rich attire includes a high crown with three plumes of black crane feathers , a pale yellow silk dress, a sabre, a belt, sleeves and a sceptre studded with pearls and emeralds.

At the top right is a medallion with an inscription, Sultan Fath Ali Shah Qajar. Beneath the medallion in a rectangular cartouche is a poem telling us that Allah himself depicted this famous monarch, although the painting in fact bears the date and signature of court artist Mihr Ali, who created a series of paintings of Fath Ali Shah.

Fath Ali Shah was the second monarch of the Qajar dynasty, which ruled in Teheran from 1796. During his reign came the Russian-Iranian wars of 1804-13 and 1826-28, and the attack on the Russian mission in Teheran in 1829, which led to the tragic death of Russian writer and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov.

Personage: Fath Ali Shah
Source of entry: Gatchina Palace Museum, 1932
Exibition: Art and Culture of the Near and Middle East: 3rd - 19th centuries

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