miniature

The art of miniature represents the world around in symbols. There is no perspective as in European paintings, but the rich colors and shapes, convey an elegant impression. The olden masters lost their eyesight after years of focusing on thin lines, but the impressions remained. A horse need not be an exact replica, but the spirit of the animal.

The most renowned master was Behzad, who created the Herat school and who was taken by Shah Ismail to Tabriz. He was revered by the king and has left his foot prints on the art.

Persian art under Islam had never completely forbidden the human figure, and in the miniature tradition the depiction of figures, often in large numbers, is central. This was partly because the miniature is a private form, kept in a book or album and only shown to those the owner chooses. It was therefore possible to be more free than in wall paintings or other works seen by a wider audience.Persian art under Islam had never completely forbidden the human figure, and in the miniature tradition the depiction of figures, often in large numbers, is central. This was partly because the miniature is a private form, kept in a book or album and only shown to those the owner chooses. It was therefore possible to be more free than in wall paintings or other works seen by a wider audience.

 

As well as the figurative scenes in miniatures, which this article concentrates on, there was a parallel style of non-figurative ornamental decoration which was found in borders and panels in miniature pages, and spaces at the start or end of a work or section, and often in whole pages acting as frontispieces. In Islamic art this is referred to as “illumination”, and manuscripts of the Qu’ran and other religious books often included considerable number of illuminated pages.┬áThe designs reflected contemporary work in other media, in later periods being especially close to book-covers and Persian carpets, and it is thought that many carpet designs were created by court artists and sent to the workshops in the provinces.