Boy Holding a Falcon

Boy Holding a Falcon
(click image to zoom-in)
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 46x30.5 cm
Origin: Iran, Late 18th century, Qajar Dynasty

This idealized portrait of a beardless youth forms a pair with a similar image of a Boy Holding a Rose. The paintings were intended to decorate a wall in a palace and were possibly produced by a court artist from Teheran. These youths, with their long hair and emphasized eyebrows and lashes, were probably birish, the effeminate young men who were kept alongside women in the harems of Iranian rulers.

Contemporary descriptions by western travellers tell us that the Persians then wore collarless shirts with a slit down the front, edged with black fabric, and small jackets with insets on the chest, which were left open to the waist, just as in these two portraits.

Despite the borrowing of some elements from Western European painting at the end of the 18th century, the tradition of medieval miniature painting was still very strong, as we can tell from the flat treatment of space and forms, the bright local colours and the large role played by ornament. In the depiction of the clothing the artist paid considerably more attention to the various patterns than to the treatment of the texture of fabrics.

Source of entry: Society of Ancient Writing and Literature, 1931

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