Kamal ol-Molk (1848-1940)

Kamal ol-Molk

Mohammad Ghaffāri, known as Kamal ol-Molk, is a native Iranian painter and artist of Kashan (1848-1940). He was one of the most famous and influential characters of the art history contemporary of Iran.

Mohammad began his first studies in his place of birth and to learn painting he went to Tehrān; at the end of the third year of study at the Dar ol-fonun school, during a visit to this place the Shah, after observing an example of his pictorial works, invited him to court to make known his art. The artist with his presence at the court, first received the nickname of Khān and then he was assigned a personal servant. After a while the shah became his own pupil and gave him the title of Naqāshbāshi and then of Kamal ol-Molk (perfection on earth).

In the period in which he was at the court, Mohammad created 170 paintings, among which the most famous is the "Hall of Mirrors" which, for the first time, bears the signature "Kamāl ol-Molk".

In the year 1276 (solar Hegira) due to the great desire to deepen the European naturalist method, he went to Europe for study. He spent more than three years in Florence, Rome and Paris and in museums devoted himself to copying pictorial works, including those of Rembrandt e Titian.

The trip to Europe had a positive influence on his style and even on his artistic vision. Kamāl ol-Molk in the 1279 by order of Mozaffar Al-Din Shah returned to Iran and continued his work at court but in practice he could not agree with the demands of the new king.

He later went to Iraq and stayed there a few years. In conjunction with the constitutional revolution he returned to Iran and with the publication of articles and the translation of some works by French constitutional writers, took an active part in the popular movement.

In the following years he founded and directed the Sanāye Mostazrafeh school and was a master of well-known pupils. Shortly thereafter, due to differences with government ministers, he abandoned teaching and state work and went into exile in the village of Hossein Ābād in Neishabur; because of an accident he became blind in one eye but continued to paint until the last years of his life in that same place.

Kamāl ol-Molk who mainly painted portraits and landscapes, with his presence in the field of painting with innovations in style and method, created a new season in the visual arts in Iran. Among his works we can mention the following: "Panorama of Safi Ābād," The musicians "," The fountain of Sāhebqarānieh "," Twin waterfalls "," The Egyptian man "," the Jewish seer "," The village of Maghānak "," Self-portrait of the artist "," Portrait of Sani 'Al-douleh "," Profile of the artist "," Panorama of the mountains of Shemirān "etc.

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