Realism in Nineteenth Century Iranian Figure Painting

By Mahshid Modares.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Iran’s deep religious roots and the decisive attraction of mysticism created an art that for centuries reflected the Iranian fascination with a world of the mind. It was not until the nineteenth century that the desire for a materialistic world would replace the religious basis of Iranian society. As a result, art served to display cultural and social changes, which eventually led to the birth of realism in Iranian painting demonstrated explicitly in figure painting. In this process, the study of European art became a constructive tool for Iranian artists who voyaged to European cities such as Rome, Florence, and Paris, studied directly under European artists who traveled to Iran, or were trained in European-style schools. Photography, lithography, and art patronage became effective as well. Realism in the figure painting of this period can be defined as freedom for artists to express real events or real people, focusing on what exists in the society, indicating the individuality and temperament of their sitters, and to demonstrate dramatic subjects, disaster, joy, pride, bravery, weakness, sadness, and foolishness.

Keywords: Iranian Painting, East-West Relationship, Realism, Realism in Iranian Painting, Figure Painting, Qajar Period, Nineteenth Century Art

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.171-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.578MB).

Mahshid Modares

Regional Vice President in North America, The International Qajar Studies Association, San Jose, CA, USA

Mahshid Modares is an artist and art historian. She received her B.F.A. in painting from Azad University, Tehran, in 1995, and her M.A. in art history from San Jose State University, California, in 2006. Mahshid plans to continue her academic career by continuing her research and publications while pursuing a Ph.D. She is concentrating her studies on the history of visual arts in Iran during the 18th-20th centuries. Her thesis was nominated for The Outstanding Thesis Award in 2006. She, also, received two scholarships and one fellowship for her papers. Mahshid has been publishing her articles; some examples are Religious Art in Iran During the 19th-early 20th centuries: Breaking the Boundaries, Published in Artefact Journal, Universite’ Laval, Quebec, 2008; Lithography in Iran During the Nineteenth Century: Art for People, published in Iran Chamber Society, U.S., 2008; Cultural Improvements in Iran During the Qajar Period and the West, published in Iran Chamber Society, U.S., 2007; European Artists in Iran During the Qajar Period, published in Golestan Honar Quarterly, Iran, 2007; The School of Obscure World: Hussein Ali Zabehi’s Paintings, published in Architecture and Urbanism Magazine, Iran, 2004.

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