Muhammad 'Ali Shah Qajar

Not on view

This is one of a handful of portraits of Muhammad 'Ali Shah Qajar, the sixth ruler of the Qajar dynasty who ruled for only two years (1907–1909). He attempted to abolish the Persian Constitution of 1906, claiming that it went against Islamic law. The painting exhibits a keen interest in photographic realism and speaks to the spirit of experimentation with new techniques and media which blossomed in Iran from the end of the 19th century. The juxtaposition of the sensitively drawn portrait of the shah and the sparse background draws the viewer's focus on his face.

Muhammad 'Ali Shah Qajar, Silver gelatin photograph, oil paint, varnish, and shell gold

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