Drawing of a young man wearing a red felt cap seated in a landscape, with a wine carafe, a small cup, and fruit. There is an offset blue border on the top, right and bottom edges of the drawing, placed on cream coloured paper with floral decoration.
AKM441, A Young Man in a Landscape

© The Aga Khan Museum

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A Young Man in a Landscape
  • Accession Number:AKM441
  • Creator:signed by Mu‘in Musavvir
  • Place:Iran, Isfahan
  • Dimensions:26.7 x 16.4 cm
  • Date:ca. 1650
  • Materials and Technique:ink, opaque watercolour, and gold on paper
  • This single-page drawing depicts a seated young man in a landscape, a topic made popular by Safavid artist Reza-e ‘Abbasi (ca. 1565–1635). The wine carafe, a small cup, and fruit also belong to the repertoire of 17th-century Iranian artists. The young man is turned to his left, holding the cup in his right hand and a pear in his left. His facial features appear European, he has slightly wavy hair, and wears a red felt cap askew on his head. In the left corner of this fine drawing is an inscription indicating the name of the 17th-century artist Mu‘in Musavvir, whose dated works fall between 1635 and 1707.[1]  

Further Reading


Musavvir was Reza-e ‘Abbasi’s most gifted student, well-known through the detailed information in the inscriptions on his works. He worked independently in his house, which served as a place for other artists to exchange ideas, designs, and new compositions.[2] His animal studies, the results of his fine draftsmanship, are a mixture of real observation and imaginative components. A Lion and a Kylin (AKM112) in the Aga Khan Museum Collection is a fine example.


According to Anthony Welch, this drawing of a young man is a relatively early work by Mu‘in Musavvir, dating to about 1650.[3] It was completed almost 50 years earlier than A Lion and a Kylin. The arrangements of the two drawings are similar; the bird in the sky and the Chinese clouds appear in both. The titling of this drawing, A Young Man in a Landscape, was seemingly done roughly and in haste and gives the impression that it could be a later addition. Another drawing by Mu‘in Musavvir, entitled A Youth Carrying a Rooster, is kept in Dublin, Ireland, and was executed about six years later than A Young Man in a Landscape. The figures in these two drawings have similar hairstyles and wear the same red felt cap. [4] The information in the inscription (even if it was written in haste) and similar visual motifs support the idea that the creator of both drawings was the same artist.


A Young Man in a Landscape was originally part of an album. It is framed by borders with gold foliate motifs on blue paper attached to a folio of cream paper decorated with bold scrolling flowers in pink and gold. Despite the question of the authenticity of the artist’s signatures, this is truly a striking example of 17th-century Iranian-European hybrid drawings.


— Filiz Çakır Phillip

[1] Farhad, Massumeh. “The Art of Mu‘in Musavvir: A Mirror of His Times.” In Persian Masters: Five Centuries of Painting, ed. Sheila Canby (Mumbai: Marg Publications, 1990), 113–14.
[2] Massumeh Farhad, “An Artist’s Impression: Mu‘in Musavvir ‘Tiger Attacking a Youth,’” Muqarnas 9 (1992): 121.
[3] Welch, Collection of Islamic Art, vol. 3, 152.
[4] Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art, Dublin, MS 265, No.2; Farhad, “The Art of Mu‘in Musavvir,” 117–18.

Farhad, Massumeh. “An Artist’s Impression: Mu‘in Musavvir’s ‘Tiger Attacking a Youth.’” Muqarnas 9 (1992): 116–23. ISBN: 9789004096257
---. “The Art of Mu‘in Musavvir: A Mirror of His Times.” In Persian Masters: Five Centuries of Painting, ed. Sheila Canby. Mumbai: Marg Publications, 1990, 113–28. ISBN: 9788185026107
Phillip, Filiz Çakır. Enchanted lines: drawings from the Aga Khan Museum collection. 2014. ISBN: 9780991992874 
Welch, Anthony. Collection of Islamic Art: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, vols. 1 and 3. Geneva: Château de Bellerive, 1972–78.

Note: This online resource is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. We are committed to improving this information and will revise and update knowledge about this object as it becomes available.


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