Herat school, 15th-century style of miniature painting that flourished in Herat, western Afghanistan, under the patronage of the Timurids. Shah Rokh, the son of the Islamic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane), founded the school, but it was his son Baysunqur Mirza (died 1433) who developed it into an important center of painting, bringing to his court artists from all over Persia and Afghanistan. The school grew in importance until 1507, when the Uzbeks sacked Herat.
The Herāt style drew on numerous traditions, including the Tabriz and Shīrāz schools of painting. The most important influence, however, was the concept of perspective, introduced by the Mongols and developed by the Jalāyirid school from mid-14th century to around 1400. In the miniatures of the Herāt school, numerous figures, in groups or singly, are shown on various planes, one above the other, using the entire picture area. The juxtaposition of figures and elements of scenery one above the other produced the effect of one appearing to be behind the other.
The figures of the earlier Herāt school are stylized—tall and thin with oblong heads and pointed beards—but are painted in a variety of positions. Above all they are animated, always taking part in the action of whatever scene is represented. Artists of the Herāt school display a highly developed sense of composition combined with a fondness for descriptive detail. Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād and Sultan Muhammad are the most famous painters of Heart school.