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Forbidden and permitted in Islamic painting: From exquisite miniatures of the past to modern “nude” -kartin

It has long been believed that in the countries of the Islamic world the image of living beings, including people, is forbidden by religion. Is it really? On the one hand, artists, as it were, are allowed to depict living beings, including their own kind, and on the other hand, there really is some kind of veto that bans not only the very art of portraiture, but its relation to it. Today I would like to shed light on these contradictory speculation.

Well, firstly, when talking about taboos, we have in mind the long-standing traditions in the Islamic world, according to which the image of deities was in no way allowed. Secondly, it also implies a ban on attributing to itself the merits with which the Almighty awarded the artist. And this means that the painters do not in any way think that “while creating with their brush, they bring something special to the portrait of this or that person”, and that it remains for them to only “breathe the soul into their creation – and it will come to life” .

And so – Islam categorically does not prohibit the pictorial reproduction of human images, but only insists that his image is not deified. For the attitude to the image, as to something holy, really is the strictest taboo. In this case, it is possible to oppose Islam with the Christian religion with its gilded iconostasis and the worship of images of saints. In Islamic religion, however, it is believed that the deification of a person or animal leads to idolatry.

As for Iran itself, before the introduction of Islam here, the tradition of miniatures of various subjects from the life of the rulers and their subjects was widespread. These scenes were often reproduced both in wall painting and in carpet weaving. And in the modern world many conventions have become obsolete and many artists of the Middle East prefer portraits in their work. Today I would like to dwell on the works of two modern Iranian artists who create hyper-realistic portrait painting.

Iman Maleki (born 1976) hails from Tehran. He painted from childhood, and a 15-year-old teenager entered the workshop of Morteza Katusian, a recognized master of realistic painting in Iran. Later he graduated from the Faculty of Graphics of the University of Arts in Tehran. And in 2000 he created his own studio, where he teaches himself.

The basis of his work Iman laid pictorial techniques and techniques developed by well-known European portrait painters of the last century. Since 2005, the artist has received not only international recognition, he won the William Bouguereau Prize – a famous French portrait painter.

Shahrzade Hazrati (Shahrzad Hazrati) (born 1957) is a modern Iranian artist hailing from the city of Ghorweh. Initially, he received education at the Polytechnic University in Tehran at the Faculty of Architecture, and continued at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Iran, then Turkey, where he still lives today.

In his work, the author skillfully combines original painting techniques – corpus volumetric painting, working on the background and soft pasty technique while working directly on the image.

The artist’s works are constantly exhibited in the countries of Asia and Europe and have great success among fans and connoisseurs of art.

As you can see, the works of modern Iranian artists are not much different from the works of European portrait masters. And this only confirms that contemporary art goes beyond religious prejudices and taboos.
The theme of “nude” in the work of some artists was very cultivated at all times, for example, Alexander Deineka, an artist from the Soviet period, was almost the basis of his artistic activity.

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