Saturday, October 14, 2017

Behzad -- The Persian Painter Who Changed The Indian Art World

Battleground of Timur and and the Mamuluk Sultan (Circa 1515)
Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād or Bihzad was a Persian painter and head of the royal ateliers in Herat and Tabriz during late Timurid and early Safavid dynasty. He was also associated with the first Mughal Emperor Babur for a brief period. However, despite brief association, he changed the Indian art scene.
Beheading of King
Now, there are several manuscript illustrations and single paintings ascribed to Behzad, but only a few are accepted as his work. Partly, due to his highly influential style, which was imitated by later generations.
The construction of castle Khavarnaq (Circa 1494)
Behzad, orphaned at very young age, was raised and trained by Mirak Naqqash. Later, he was employed by famous Turkic poet, writer, linguist, and painter Mīr 'Alisher Navai.

Funeral of Attar of Nishapur (Circa: 1486)
Behzad major patrons were Husayn Bayqarah and other amirs in his circle. After fall of Timurid empire, he was employed by Shah Ismail I Safavi in Tabriz, as head of the royal atelier. He had a decisive impact on the development of paintings of later Safavid school.

Yusef and Zuleykha (Circa: 1488)
As mentioned earlier, Behzad was also associated with Babur for a brief period of time, but due to lack of appreciation by the Mughal emperor weaken the ties. Babur only considered Behzad as one of the several skilled painters, active in the circle of Sultan Husayn.

An Illustration from Iskandernama (Circa: 1495)
Though, the later generation of Mughal rulers, were highly appreciative of Behzad's works. Several of the manuscripts that illustrated by Behzad was owned by Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan.

Hunting Ground, Moraqqa’-e Golshan
A close examination of early Mughal paintings shows that Mughal artists modeled their work on Behzad's compositions.

Sultan Hussein
Behzad's compositions are unique in their own way. He is credited with introduction of Naturalism to Persian paintings, particularly in the depiction of individualistic figures. He used Sufi symbolism and also symbolic colors to convey meaning.

Dance of Sufi Dervishes (Circa: 1480/90)

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