Persian Miniature: from East to West

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Iranian Art
Persian Miniature 

مینیاتور فارسی

Shirin in the bath by Claudine Gillot 

Enchantment by Helene Barrieu

Musician and philosopher in a garden
by Ma Padioleau


Western artists discovered the Persian miniature at the beginning of the 20th century, through Persian art exhibitions in Munich in 1910, in Paris in 1912 and London in 1931.
   As early as the 11th century in Persia, miniatures described heroes of epic literature and poetry. Persian miniature experienced a turning point with the invasion of Mongols and during the Timourid period (12th/ 16th century). This Chinese influence appeared in the drawing and material.
    Persian paintings were first designed to illustrate texts; they have been  done on separate paper sheets from the 16th century.

   Out of the symbiosis between the Persian and Indian style will emerge the Moghol school in the 16th century. Humayun, Babur’s son (the foundator of the Moghol dynasty) discovered the Persian illustration work and paintings at the Persian Safavid Court in Persia (1501-1736). He chose two young Persian painters who accompanied him to India and brought their taste for illuminations or illustrations of manuscripts to the Court. Their role was vital in the evolution of the Indian miniature style.
   Persian miniatures are a paradisiacal vision, materialized in the garden, featuring trees - that can make coexist the seasons - fall and spring - fountains, silver  rivers, brightly coloured mountains and golden skies. All the beauty of Persian miniature comes from its magnificent colours and abundant finely elaborated details.
Nowadays this traditional art of Persian miniature is taught in France and we were lucky to count among students of the great miniaturist Abbas Moayeri, born in Iran (died in 2020). He was the successor of the famous Master Behzâd – with whom he studied – at the School of Fine Arts of Tehran where he taught Persian miniature from 1967 to 1970. In addition to his sumptuous - highly prized by collectors – traditional miniatures, Abbas Moayeri, as a painter and sculptor, ‘has also been doing extensive pictorial research, experimenting a unique way of creation fed by centuries of Persian art, along with a western technique which lets the non Iranian laymans enter into the transfigured symbolism of a wonderful world of legend, poetry and ancient wisdom’. He received numerous awards and honors and actively participated in great international exhibitions.
   We present here the work of Abbas Moayeri, together with that of his students Hélène Barrieu, Claudine Gillot, Ma Padioleau and Gérard Verrouil.
   In addition, a tribute was paid to master Abbas Moayeri in 2023 and 2024 with the organisation of exhibitions featuring a selection of miniatures created by many of his students.



Bahram Gur and the princess of Iran
in te blue pavillion
by Claudine Gillot, 2021

Yousouf's celebration at the court before his wedding with Zoulayka, after a miniature by Cheikh Mohammad,
by Gérard Verrouil

 Sculpture Iran

Prince's head (ilkhanide period (mongol),
 Rayy, Iran, by Ma Padioleau