Esfahan School

in the early 17th century Shah ʿAbbās I (died 1629), the Safavid ruler, moved the capital of Iran from Qazvin to Isfahan and because of that the centrality of artistic activities and many artists, specifically painters, moved to Esfahan.
Esfahān school, last great school of Persian miniature painting, flourished at its height under the patronage of Shah ʿAbbās I. The Eṣfahān school’s leading master was Rezā ʿAbbāsī, who was greatly influenced by the Kazvin school of portraiture, particularly the work of Ṣādiqī Beg (flourished late 16th century).
Reza ʿAbbasi preferred naturalistic subjects and portraiture to the illustrative themes that had dominated Persian miniature painting for 200 years. His painting Two Lovers (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City) is among the most accomplished works of the Eṣfahan school. Although there is an element of stylization, the exquisiteness and delicacy of the hands, faces, and costumes infuse the painting with an impressionistic quality. The curved, plumpish figures are highly effeminate, in the tradition of the late Ṣafavid court. Reza ʿAbbasi was also a master of line drawing, a form of art not popular in the Islamic world before the end of the 16th century.
In this period, the main focus of paintings is the human itself rather than surrounding spaces, and the marginal spaces are usually simple. Dervishes and the young adults are the main subjects of paintings in this period. The Esfahan school lost its freshness after the master’s death, and miniature painting in Iran declined.

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