Archive for Art

Chehel Sotoun


This great Safavid Palace was one of nearly 300 built in Isfahan when it was the capital of Iran. It was largely completed under Shah Abbas II (1642-1667), although work may have started on the palace as early as 1598, and is said to derive its name from the pillars which dominate the verandah. There are twenty of these laid out in three rows of six with two additional ones on either side of the main entrance. When these are reflected in the water of the pool the number is made up to forty, the Farsi for which is “chehel – 40”. However the number forty is also used to signify a large number as in the Minaret of Chehel Dokhtaran.

The magnificent talar or verandah, is the dominant feature of the palace and the slender columns, over 40m tall, which support it are cut from single chenar trees (platanus orientalis). The roof is also made from chenar tree beams and inset with complex decoration. The surface of much of the throne room is still covered with mirrored glass and this probably also was used on the pillars, as it was in the palace of Ali Qapu, so as to give the appearance of a roof floating in the air.

Looking out over the pool from the Verandah, one is able to appreciate the importance attached historically by Persians to the concept of “talar” which fulfilled their love of sitting in the garden while they were protected from the light and heat.

Behind the verandah there is a small raised throne room which leads into a spacious audience chamber. This is richly decorated with paintings celebrating the heyday of the Safavid dynasty, including a particularly celebrated one of Shah Tahmasb receiving the Mughul Emperor Homayun at a banquet. There are also some paintings of a more secular nature, depicting ladies lying in gardens and hunting scenes, although these have been badly defaced. On the outside of the building there are some particularly interesting pictures of european figures, presumably based on the ambassadors and their retinue who would have stayed in the palace from time to time.

Interesting aspects of the Chehel Sotoun (Sotoon) Palace are:{mosimage}

The stone lions at the four corners of the central pool, the hall and marble and vaulted cornices around it.
The gilded adornments, paintings and the portrait of the sovereign in the royal hall. Along with that of the chambers surrounding the hall of mirrors.
The portrait of Shah Abbas I with the special crown and the miniatures of the treasury room.
Several facades such as the ‘Qotbiyeh Mosque’, ‘Zaviyeh in Kushk’, and the imprints of the ‘Dar-e-Joubareh’ and ‘Aqasi Mosque’ are affixed in the western and southern walls of the garden. The hall and porches of this palace were constructed during the fifth year of the reign of Shah Abbas II. The reflection of the twenty pillars of the hall in the pool opposite the palace brings about a conception of forty pillars. Hence the name Chehel Sotune.

As with Ali Qapu, the palace contains many frescoes and paintings on ceramic. Many of the ceramic panels have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the west. They depict specific historical scenes such as a reception for an Uzbek King in 1646, when the palace had just been completed; a banquet in honor of the Emir of Bukhara in 1611; the battle of Chalderan against the Ottoman Sultan Selim II in 1514 in which the Persians fought without firearms; the welcome extended to the Mughal Emperor,Humayun who took refuge in Iran in 1544; the battle of Taher-Abad in 1510 where the Safavid Shah Ismail I vanquished and killed the Uzbek King. A more recent painting depicts Nadir Shah’s victory against the Indian Army at Karnal in 1739. There are also less historical, but even more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.

This building – now a veritable museum of Persian painting and ceramics-was a pleasure pavilion used for the king’s entertainments and receptions. It stands inside a vast royal park, but relatively near the enclosure, and was built by Shah Abbas II round an earlier building erected by Shah Abbas I. An inscription states that the decoration and frescoes were finished in 1647. Only two large historical frescoes date from the later period of the Zand dynasty.

Unfortunately, the Chehel Sotun has been badly damaged since then, especially when the Afghans occupied the town and covered the paintings with a thick coat of whitewash. It is now being extensively restored under the aegis of the Institute Italian Per il Medio Oriente.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

Ālī Qāpū and in memory of a good friend


Iran - Isfahan

Ālī Qāpū is a grand palace in Isfahan, Iran. It is located on the western side of the Naghsh-i Jahan Square, and had been originally designed as a vast portal. It is forty-eight meters high and there are seven floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor music room, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic.

The name Ālī Qāpū, Turkic for “high gate”, was given to this place as it was right at the entrance to the Safavid palaces which stretched from the Maidan Naqsh-i-Jahan to the Chahār Bāgh Boulevard. The building, another wonderful Safavid edifice, was built by decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early seventeenth century. It was here that the great monarch used to entertain noble visitors, and foreign ambassadors. Shah Abbas, here for the first time celebrated the Now – ruz (New Year’s Day) of 1006 AH / 1597 A.D. A large and massive rectangular structure, the Ālī Qāpū is 36 meters high and has six floors, fronted with a wide terrace whose ceiling is inlaid and supported by wooden columns.

Professor Eugenio Galdieri passed away suddenly yesterday, great architecture and a dear friend and amazing teacher. He was born in Naples, and graduated in Architecture at the University of Rome. He devoted himself almost entirely to the problems of conservation of monuments – in particular in Eastern European countries – and studies in Islamic architecture. From 1970 until 1979, he supervised, as scientific responsible, the entire program of study and conservation and restoration, conducted by the institute in Iran, Oman and Afghanistan.

Iran - Esfahan

In 1982 he received the “Aga Khan Award” for the restoration of Islamic monuments and a year later in 1983 he was appointed academic honor of the Florentine Academy of Arts and Design. In 1987 he became a member of the Societas Europaea Iranologica, Uppsala. Most of his research and work was preservation of monuments and history of architecture of Islamic countries.

Eugene Galdieri

May He Rest in Peace …

Leave a Comment

Drawing and Painting


 

WaterColor Painting- Iran - Esfahan

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it; drawing is putting a line around an idea.  Most of the artists want to draw something meaningful and some may want to draw something that means something to someone. When an artist wants to draw something they might have self doubts or fear, but artists should believe in themselves and what comes from within them. Some might want to draw emotions of a mother, like the feeling of a mother holding her child for the first time, or the great feeling after helping someone in need  or a moment of clarity, something that nobody’s saying it but everybody’s thinking it, something to believe in again. It’s not easy to draw that feeling. But, artists shouldn’t think because they might not great at it then they might ruin it. Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.Like Frederick Franck said: I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

Old Times - Iran - WaterColor Painting

“Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good.”  Cennini

WaterColor painting

 

Aseman Hotel - Isfahan In A Rainy Day - Iran - WaterColor Painting

Most of the paintings are watercolor paintings. All of them are views on Iran, some on old times and some are on present time.

Comments (1)

Safavid Period Architecture


 

Iran - Isfahan

Safavid art refers to art in Persia (Iran) during the dynasty of the same name (1501-1722), a high point for the art of the book and architecture; other art at the time included ceramics, metal and glass.

Iran - Esfahan

Iran - Esfahan

For the third time in the history of the Safavids, the capital of the empire changed under Shah Abbas: to Isfahan, a city in a more centralized location than Tabriz or Qazvin (which is between Tehran and Tabriz). A new capital was thus set up beside the ancient city, organized around a meydan, a large place 512 metres long by 159 wide.

Iran - Esfahan

On one side stands the Shah’s mosque, on the other the Shah’s oratory, called the mosque of Sheikh Lutfallah, while the pavilion Ali Qapu opens onto a large pleasure walkway (Chahar Bagh) and the grand bazaar led to the old mosque on Fridays. Two bridges cross the Zayandeh River, leading to an Armenian section taking the name of Nea Julfa.

 
 
 
 
 

Iran - Isfahan

 

 

Iran - Isfahan

Chaharbagh school
 
A tiling collection, The Madresse chaharbagh, or royal school, also named after the king’s mother; is one of the last, but otherwise most beautiful works of Safavid period architecture. It was built at the time of Shah Sultan Hussain, the last of the safavid kings. The building also displays the art of tile work at its best. It is an example of late Safavid period tile work. On the eastern wing of the school was the king’s mother caravansary, a place for travellers to rest. Today it has been turned into the magnificent Abbasi Hotel, itself a museum of post-Safavid works of art. (17th century after Christ).

Iran - Isfahan

 

 

Comments (3)