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Prince Yahya

Attributed to Muhammad Hasan

Arts of the Islamic World

On View: Brooklyn Museum, BMA, EXHIBITION-2, Asian 2W41
In the seventeenth century, Iranian patrons began commissioning large-scale paintings as decoration for palatial interiors. While the use of oil paint on stretched canvases was probably derived from European tradition, the Iranians did not frame the paintings to hang individually on the walls like their European counterparts. Instead the paintings were part of an overall architectural design, fitting neatly into recessed spaces on the walls.

The subject of this portrait, Prince Yahya, was a son of the second ruler of the Qajar dynasty, Fath ‘Ali Shah (reigned 1797–1834). His father appointed him at an early age to govern the province of Gilan, near the Caspian Sea. With its emphasis on his costume’s many pearls, his prominently displayed sword, and his European-style pocket watch, the portrait captures the wealth, authority, and modernity of its youthful subject.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Iran
  • DATES ca. 1830s
    DYNASTY Qajar
    PERIOD Qajar Period
    DIMENSIONS 67 x 35 in. (170.2 x 88.9 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscription in Persian nasta'liq script within cartouche, upper left corner: "Shahzadeh Navvab Yahya Mirza" (His Highness Prince Yahya)"
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Brooklyn Museum, BMA, EXHIBITION-2, Asian 2W41
    EXHIBITIONS
    ACCESSION NUMBER 72.26.5
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Attributed to Muhammad Hasan (Persian, active 1808-1840). Prince Yahya, ca. 1830s. Oil on canvas, 67 x 35 in. (170.2 x 88.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Wilkinson, 72.26.5 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 72.26.5_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 72.26.5_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2017
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