Standing Figure

Artist: Ascribed to Muhammadi
Historical period(s)
Safavid period, mid-16th century
Ink, and gold on paper
H x W (painting): 16 × 7.1 cm (6 5/16 × 2 13/16 in)
Iran, Probably Qazvin
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Manuscript folio

flower, illumination, Iran, nasta'liq script, Safavid period (1501 - 1722)

E. Beghian. [1]

To 1933
Hagop Kevorkian (1872-1962), New York. [2]

From 1933
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Hagop Kevorkian, New York. [3]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872-1962
E. Beghian 1910?-1950?


According to Sufism, gazing at the beautiful face of the beloved facilitates greater spiritual consciousness, and the seventeenth century abounds in images of handsome idealized youths. This painting is inscribed with a line of poetry by Mir Ali Sher Navai, one of the most influential cultural figures and poets of late-fifteenth-century Iran. It reads, "Your many arrows have destroyed Navai's heart." Although it is unclear whether text and image are directly related in this composition, the wistful figure with a wine cup can be interpreted as a visual metaphor for the Sufi concept of the beloved, so frequently described in mystically inspired Persian poetry.

The painting is attributed to the celebrated painter Muhammadi, who began his career in late-sixteenth-century Herat in present-day Afghanistan. He then joined the royal atelier in Tabriz in northwestern Iran and in 1548 moved with the court to Qazvin, where this work was probably completed. Muhammadi's style is notable for its sinuous lines and slender, elegant male figures.

Published References
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book III: Exhibition of September 5, 1933. Washington, September 5, 1933. .
  • Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1934. Washington, 1934-1935. opp. p. 26, pl. 1.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1934. Washington. pl. 1.
  • Laurence Binyon, Basil Gray. unknown title., January 1931. p. 15.
  • B. W. Robinson. Muhammadi and the Khurasani Style. no. 30. p. 22, pl. 5c.
  • Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition. The Fragrance of the Friend: An Interview with Iraj Anvar. vol. 30, no. 3 Mt. Kisco, New York, Fall 2005. p. 33.
  • Laurence Binyon, J.V.S. Wilkinson, Basil Gray. Persian Miniature Painting: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Miniatures Exhibited at Burlington House, January-March 1931. Exh. cat. Oxford, January - March 1931. no. 188, p. 141.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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