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Portrait of Hatefi the Poet

Folio from a 1544–45 album assembled for Bahram Mirza

  • Accession Number:AKM160
  • Creator:Attributed to Behzad
  • Place:Herat, Afghanistan (Historic Iran)
  • Dimensions:11.8 x 7.8 cm
  • Date:ca. 1511
  • Materials and Technique:Opaque watercolour, ink, and gold on paper

The painter Behzad, whose work we see here, was celebrated as one of the most renowned painters in Herat and Tabriz in Historic Iran during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. By that time, Behzad was responsible for some of the most magnificent Iranian paintings, two of which are in the Aga Khan Museum’s collection. Behzad’s painting style is characterized by remarkable fine details and natural gestures that project an expressive narrative and intense individuality of the painted subject. Here the Iranian poet Hatefi (died 1520) is depicted with a greying beard and finely lined face, indicating his old age. The purposefulness of his hand gesture, however, implies an ongoing conversation or perhaps a poetry recital.

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