Portrait of `Ali Quli Mirza, I`tizad al-Saltana

Abu`l Hasan Ghaffari, known as Sani' al-Mulk Iranian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462

This is a fine portrait of prince 'Ali Quli Mirza I'tizad al-Saltana, 54th son of the ruler Fath 'Ali Shah Qajar, who served as Minister of Higher Education, and Director of the Dar al-Funun academy (Iran's first modern institution of higher learning). It demonstrates the court artist Abu'l Hasan Ghaffari's extraordinary skills in rendering realistic portraits that capture the sitter's psychological state.

Here, the artist has devoted attention to a lavishly decorated interior of carved plaster walls with touches of cut mirrorwork and the prince's brocade cloak.

By the 1850's photography was widely practiced at court which had a decisive impact on painting. The dialogue between painting and photography is evident in this portrait.

Portrait of `Ali Quli Mirza, I`tizad al-Saltana, Abu`l Hasan Ghaffari, known as Sani' al-Mulk (Iranian, 1814–66), Opaque watercolor, gold, and ink on paper

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