Turkey (probably Istanbul)
Ink, colors, and gold on paper
H. 9 7/16 in. (24 cm), W. 6 7/16 in. (16.4 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1969 (69.27)
The Persian poet Hatifi (died 1521), nephew of the fifteenth-century Herat poet Jami, wrote a Khamsa (Quintet), like other ambitious poets, in emulation of the great Nizami. Persian literature and culture were much admired at the Ottoman court, and Persian was considered the prime language for poetry. This manuscript of Khusrau and Shirin, one of the books of the Khamsa, was transcribed in Persian during the author's lifetime.
This painting, one of seven in the manuscript, shows the Iranian prince Khusrau hunting with his companions. Ottoman painting during the reign of Bayezid II (r. 14811512), who was a great patron of the arts, was still in a formative state, with influences coming from both East and West. In this case, the style derives basically from the Turkman style of southern Iran, as seen in such conventions as the organization of spatial planes and the distinctive rendition of vegetation in the first two phases. But the liveliness of the figures and variety of flying birds hint at the interest in realism that would become a hallmark of Turkish painting in the sixteenth century.