Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Abraham Sacrificing Isaac

Painted by Fathallah Shirazi (Iranian, active 1850s–80s)
Object Name:
Illustrated single work
late 19th century
Attributed to Iran
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Sheet: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm) W. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm) Miniature: H. 3 3/8 (8.6 cm) W. 2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Harold B. Allen, 1970
Accession Number:
Not on view
The painting at the center of this page is copied after a Flemish engraving, and depicts the biblical story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac. European paintings and engravings were first available in Iran and copied during the Safavid period (1501–1722), and this scene in particular remained popular through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This version is in fact quite similar to a seventeenth-century painting signed by the Safavid artist Muhammad Zaman. The painting has been set into a frame with a dense flower and bird (gul-o-bul-bul) design, signed by Fathallah Shirazi (active 1850s–80s). The inscriptional medallion at the bottom of the page that gives his name also dedicates the work to Vusuq al-Dawleh, who was prime minister at the time. It is unclear whether the central painting was also completed by Fathallah Shirazi or if it is an earlier work that was later pasted into this album page.
Signature: Fathallah, inscribed in a medallion at the bottom center. Possibly not the artist of the entire work. The miniature was produced earlier by a different artist.
Fathallah Shirazi (active 1850s-1880s)

Inscription: In Persian, in medallion at bottom center: "Made devotedly by Fathallah." (Translated by M. Ekhtiar 6-2002)

In Persian, in the lunette: "Presented to his gracious Majesty, Highness, the Prime Minister. May his glory and greatness continue." (Translated by M. Ekhtiar 6-2002)
Vusuq al-Dawleh, Tehran, Iran (from ca. 1918); his son, Ali Vosugh, Tehran, Iran (until 1943; gifted to Allen); Harold B. Allen, Monmouth County, NJ (1943–d. 1970; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College. "Re-Orientations: Islamic Art and the West in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," February 7, 2008–April 26, 2008, no catalogue.

Bates, Ülkü. Re-Orientations: Islamic Art and the West in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. New York, 2008. no. 8, pp. 50–51, ill.

Haidar, Navina. "Visual Splendour: Embellished Pages from the Metropolitan Museum 's Collection of Islamic and Indian Manuscripts." Arts of Asia vol. 42 (2012). p. 118, ill. fig. 19 (color).

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