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About Miniature



Miniature is a fine art work distinguishing with small size and special tenderness of artistic methods. This art was emerged mainly as art of book illustration and devoted to scientific, historical and artistic works, in particular, it had been developed under the direct influence of classical oriental poetry. 

The history of miniature  
The first examples of miniature art of the Middle Eas were created in citis of Azerbaijan like Tabriz, Maragha. 
The book illustration and miniature art though was available in Azerbaijan earlier but the most perfect examples of this art which reached us are Varga and Gulsha (the early of the XIII century, Topkapi Museum, Istanbul), Rashidaddin’s “Jami-at-Tavarikh (1307 and 1314, Paris, London, Istanbul museums). 
Formation of this art in XIV century as an independent art school (the school of Tabriz miniature) was reflected in miniatures of famous manuscript works of years 1340-1350 like Great Tabriz Shahname or Demott Shahname. These minitatures, which mostly were painted by famous painters Shamsaddin and Ahmad Musa are now kept in museums and libraries around the world. The 58 miniatures painted on this manuscript are known yet. 
Miniature art style features of Azerbaijan much more improved in the early XV century. The syle of ilustation made for Nizami’s “Khosrov and Shirin poem (1405-1410, Frir gallery, Washington, DC), the great painter Abd-al-Khayyi Sultan Ahmed’s paintings for poems Divan (1405-1410, Frir gallery, Washington, DC) and Assar Tabrizi’s illustrations for Mehr and client work (1419) are proofs of perfection of Tabriz school style. 
In XV century, under the influence of the school of Tabriz, the art of miniature began to develop in Shamakhy and Baku. During this period, The  oriental poetry” anthology or Shamakhi Anthology (1468, British Museum, London), sole and two fiqure portraits painted by Abdulbagi Bakuvi (Mehtar, Two emirs, Topkapi museum, Istanbul, Turkey) are among best miniatures of painters of Shamakhy and Baku. 
The peak of the Tabriz miniature school comes to middle of XVI century. In connection with creation of centralized Safavids states the capital of Azerbaijan Tabriz becomes the main center of artistic creation, culture, aesthetic views in the Near and Middle East. In Tabriz, in palace library of Shah Ismail and Tahmasib, under the guidance of the great master Sultan Muhammad besides talented local painters like Musavvir Mir, Mirza Ali Tabrizi, Mir Seyed Ali, Muzaffar Ali, well-known painters, calligraphers and artists of the East like  Kamaleddin Behzad, Sheykhzade, Aghamirak Isfahani, Shah Mahmud Nisapuri East had worked, too
Minitatures combining the features of the XVI century artistic style of Tabriz school are noteworthy, like Khamsa (dated 1524) (Metropolitan-museum , New York), Shahname (Institute of Oriental Studies, St. Petersburg), Jami at-tavarikh” dated 1528 (library named after Shedrin M.Y.Saltıkov, St. Petersburg),on which illustrations painted on manuscripts draw attention. 
In the sample of Tabriz school the East of miniature art reached the highest stage of development in 1530-1540. During this period  extremely delicate work of 3 small miniatures Shah and Dervish (library named after M.Y.Saltıkov-Shedrin, St. Petersburg), Shahname decorated with 258 miniatures (1537; part in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the rest in the Haufton collection, New-York,) and Khamsa having world fame with its 14 rare miniatures (1539-1543, British Museum, London),  manuscripts of the rich artistic design, elegant for decorative adornments in the East, were considered masterpieces of book art and miniature painting. 
Machine miniature art met very seldom till XVI century, but since the middle of the century it turned into a specific genre. Unlike the book illustrations, in such independent miniatures the ordinary events of life - hunting and battle scenes, humor and music meetings, court entertainments, portraits of the aristocrats and shahs  and in rare cases the poetic subjects from classical literature were described. Among such miniatures collected in many museums and libraries of Russia, Turkey, the European and U.S. in special albums (murakka) we can show the miniatures of Mirza Ali Tabrizi, The assembly of Music in Palace, miniature of Sultan Muhammad Hunting Scene, pictures of Mir Seyed Ali, Rural Life and City life occupy exceptional palce in the miniature art of the East. In addition Sultan Muhammad, Mir Musavvir, Dust Muhammad and other painters had created a series of portrait miniatures. 
The development of miniature paintings of the XVI century is connected with the creations of Siyavush Bey, Mir Zeynalabdin Tabrizi, Mohammadi and Sadiq Bey Afshar. During this period, the book illustrations that reflect real life and ordinary domestic scenes painted more in the syle of miniatures. 
 At the beginning of the XVII century, certain stagnation occurs in the book illustration and miniature art. In XVIII-XIX centuries miniatures, for its painted images in a collection of manuscripts, composition and for colorite were very simple, and of schematic character. Kalila and Dimna (1809) of Avazali Muganly, Shahname (1850) of Mirza Aliqulu, “Behr ulazan (1864) of Mir Nevvab, Yusif and Zuleikha of Najafgulu Samakhyly (1887; AREA Institute of Manuscripts), etc.illustrarion means the regress of classical miniature art for its figurative expressions. 
Classic miniature style features are used in the subsequent periods of development of fine art in Azerbaijan. Modern painters, like Mikail Abdullayev (1921-2002), had created   a number of classic works associated with classic heritage. The painters’ illustrations to  KItabi Dede-Gorgud epos (1962 and 1979 editions),  the motives of the poet\'s works in  the Baku underground Nizami station were created in the miniature style of mosaics.  The fairy tales, Novruz Holiday works of People\'s artist Arif Huseynov (1943) are very popular. Altay Hajiyev, Rafis Ismailov, Nusrat Hajiyev, Orkhan Huseynov are best in among modern painters in the genre of miniature.

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