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Kamal al-Molk

Mirza Mohammad Khan Ghaffari Kashani, known as Kamal al-Molk, was born in Kashan in 1849. His father, Mirza bozorg Ghaffait, and his father's uncle, Mirza Abulhasan Khan Ghaffari (entitled Sani aI-Molk) were painters at the Qajar court. Mohammad also found his way to the court of Naser al-Din Shah and was soon entitled Naqqash Bashi, or Master of Painters”. As a recognition of his enormous talent, he was then given the title of Kamal al-Molk which means the”Most Valuable Worthiness” of the country‘s art.

Kamal al-Molk’s most famous early works are ”The Reflecting Pool of the Saheb-Qaranieh Palace”, “The Mirror Hall, and the self-portrait. In the end of the 19th Century, Kamal al-Molk undertook a trip to Europe where he studied the works of European painters. He was especially by Rembrandt and in his later pictures tried to copy him. “The Fortune Teller of Baghdad” and “The Goldsmith of Baghdad” are among his most notable paintings from this period.

Kamal al-Molk’s importance in the development of Iranian fine arts is enormous. His work is often described as the bridge between traditional and modern painting in Iran. Kamal al-Molk spent the last years of his life in self-chosen exile at his small property in Hossein Abad in Neyshabur. There, having lost one eye, he stopped painting and died a lonely death in August of 1940.

Refrence(s):

- Beheshti, Oksana (2003). Travel guide to Isfahan, Kashan and more. Iran. Tehran. Rozaneh publication.

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