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  • Date :
  • 6/16/2009

Kamal-ol-Molk (A Great Master of Painting in Iran)

kamal-ol-molks portrait which is painted by himself

Mohammad Ghaffari, known as Kamal-ol-Molk, was born into a talented family in Kashan in1847.He was undoubtedly one of the most eminent artists in Iran.

 His uncle, Mirza AbolHassan Khan Ghaffari, known as Sanee-ol-Molk, a 19th century celebrated painter, was unrivalled in watercolor portraits. His father, Mirza Bozorg Ghaffari Kashani, was the founder of Iran"s painting school and a famous artist too. His brother, AbuTorab Ghaffari was also a distinguished painter of his time. Mohammad developed an interest in calligraphy and painting from the early years of his life. In his childhood eagerness, he drew charcoal sketches on the walls of his room. Some of the sketches he drew in that very house may still be visible.

Upon completion of his primary education, Mohammad moved to Tehran. To continue  his studies, he registered in Dar-ol-Fonoon School where he studied painting with Mozayyen-od-Doleh, a well-known painter who had visited Europe and studied Western art.

He studied there for a period of three years during which the sparks of his genius ignited. Whenever he found some free time, he spent it on painting, strengthening his union with nature. Through his sharp vision, he could see secrets in lines and colors hidden from the common eye.

In his school days, the young Ghaffari was given the name Mirza Mohammad Kashi. In this very short period of education he could attract public"s attention to himself as a talented artist.

In his visits to Dar-ol-Fonoon, Nasereddin Shah Qajar came to know Mohammad Ghaffari and observed his incredible talent. He invited him to the court and Mohammad did his best to perfect his technique.

two beggar girls painted  by kamal-ol-molk

Noticing his mastery in painting, Nasereddin Shah gave him the title "Kamal-ol-Molk (Perfection on Land)."

During the years he stayed at Nasereddin Shah"s court, Kamal-ol-Molk created some of his most significant works. The paintings he did in this period, which lasted up until the assassination of Nasereddin Shah, were portraits of important people, landscapes, paintings of royal camps and hunting grounds, and different parts of royal palaces.

In this busiest period of Kamal-ol-Molk"s artistic life, he created over 170 paintings. Unfortunately, most of these paintings have either been destroyed or taken abroad.

The works he created in this period indicate his desire to discover the laws of oil painting. He advanced so much that he even acquired laws of perspective by himself and applied them to his works.

His mastery in the delicate use of a brush as well as bright and lively colors was well that  distinguished him from his contemporaries.

Other links:

Master Ali Asghar Tajvidi

Hossein Behzad

Sohrab Sepehri

Freydoon Rassouli

Aliakbar Sanati

Hamid Ajami

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