Opaque watercolors and ink on paper; 11 5/8 x 8 3/8 in. (29.5 x 21.3 cm) (sheet)
Bequest of Harold B. Allen, 1970 (1970.275)
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 (15011722), 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 and dated by Fathallah Shirazi (active 1850s80s). The inscriptional medallion at the bottom of the page that gives his name also dedicates the work to Vosseq 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.