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Manuscript painting, at the heart of these new teachings, was also revived in the School of Ancient Arts. This restoration of the practice of painting was executed in a neo-Safavid style to reconnect it with its former influence and likely in response to the enthusiasm expressed in Europe to the masterpieces of the Safavid dynasty 16thth centuries.
The Society of Iranian Goods Kala-ye Iran was inaugurated in April to sell the crafts of this revival of ancestral know-how.
Alice Bombardier 7 During international fairs and exhibitions, Persian art was even used as a stooge for the industrial products alongside which it was exposed. In , Iran refused to participate in the international Exhibition of Paris for diplomatic reasons.
The success of Persian art in the s in Europe probably stemmed from the fact that it had been consistently associated with the modern productions of the country and with the idea of such know-how. At the same time, Persian art was propagated, in an even more persuasive manner, as a catalyst for the diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries and with Europe through exhibitions and congresses that were exclusively devoted to Persian art.
The London International Exhibition in dedicated solely to Persian art is a perfect example. Petersburg by the Third Congress of Iranian Art and an international exhibition of Persian painting; 21 also in but in Egypt by another exhibition of Persian art inaugurated by a representative of King Fuad r. At that time, Persian art had become a leverage of international recognition for the new dynasty. Inside the country as well as abroad, the idea of a revival of the mythical Persia associated with the arts that were embodied by modern Iran was steadily spread.
Objects such as sculptural reliefs, carpets and miniature painting became the cornerstones of Persian art in this new interpretative framework. Putting Persian art into circulation in the context of international trade fairs or international artistic exhibitions led to the enhancement of the products displayed and established the brand image of the producing country. On the other hand, with regard to Persian art itself, it was also planned to boost its knowledge internationally and to convey new information about it.
Indeed, the export of Persian art and its newfound visibility were accompanied by a scientific discourse. Alice Bombardier 9 The French Society for Iranian Studies and Persian Art: Building and Legitimizing a New Image of Iran The circulation of Persian art throughout France, Europe or even the United States would not have reached such a scale without the action of a global network of the scholarly community fascinated by this field; such scholars were eager to share their knowledge and to organise various events to promote their research.
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This Society was not the only one in the West during this period to focus specifically on Persian art. Its main contribution consisted of the dissemination of the recent research on Iran. Regular conferences were scheduled and various exhibitions were organised. A major effort of linking European researchers and Persian students was also noteworthy.
Les robâïyât : Miniatures persanes
The financial resources and the institutional patronage of the French Society for Iranian Studies and Persian Art were substantial. It is interesting to note that it was respectively financed by the Persian Ministry of Public Instruction—which multiplied its budget sixfold between and —by the subscriptions of Iranian students studying in France 24 For the history of the AIPAA, see Gluck and Siver eds. In order to increase the scope of these events, a bulletin was published by the French Society for Iranian Studies and Persian Art and reproduced many of these lectures in their entirety.
An international network of scholars was federated through this Society, making it a space of joint work. Alice Bombardier 11 consider the neighbouring countries of Persian culture as extensions of Iran, seen as the cradle and the centre of the Persian civilisation. Thus, in addition to major exhibition projects on Achaemenid or Sasanian Art, contemporary artists from Iran were officially invited by the French Society for the first time in France to present their works of art. It is also important to note that the Armenians were in a position of interface in Iranian society: foreigners had frequent contact with Armenians in Iran.
Indeed, the Armenians, often merchants of art, represented key links of the art market in Persia since the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. See also Katchadourian Appointed Professor of miniature painting at the School of Ancient Arts in Tehran, Hosein Behzad diametrically changed in the late s the practice of painting in the country.
Imaginative, these new paintings have merged the ancestral fine line with some visual principles of European realism.
Alice Bombardier 13 to build the New Iran. France and more generally Europe were assiduous in following the waves preluding the birth of a modern Iran and, in line with the curiosity aroused by Persian art and its transformations, began focusing on the contemporary artists of this country, including restorers, academic painters or miniaturists. The enthusiastic reception that was bestowed upon these artists in the European press denotes the interest of Europe in any artistic emanation from Persia.
Well before the pioneers of new painting who emerged on the Iranian art scene in the late s and most often extended their studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Paris, it is noticeable that Iranian artists had already regularly travelled between Iran and France beginning the s.
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At the invitation of the French Society for Iranian Studies and Persian Art, these journeys and the contact with a foreign audience whose awareness of Persian art had been increased, influenced in reciprocation the artistic representations particular to Iranian artists themselves. It is in this way that Hosein Behzad brought important changes to miniature painting upon his return to Iran, bringing the heart of the aesthetic heritage of the country to renovation.
In the context of contemporary artistic creation, the traditional image-illustration parted then with the Persian manuscript and was invested with new secularist political and social customs. Indeed, from the first paragraph, the names of the founders of the Achaemenid and Sasanian dynasties, Cyrus II c.
According to Talinn Grigor, it is clear that these historical periods were selected to serve a certain vision of history, shared by the modernist elites supporting the founding of the Pahlavi dynasty. Then he listed the brilliant historical phases of Persian art and their influence on other civilisations. Alice Bombardier 15 National Heritage in Iran. At this stage, the Society for National Heritage which counted among its members politically influential and determined figures, appears as a key factor of the historical context favourable to the academic vogue of Persian art in France in the s.
Rouge Baiser 1947 Miniature Persane, Charles Kiffer, Orientalism Oriental
The Society for National Heritage, influential in Iran, succeeded in exporting its objectives and extending its activities abroad through similar societies, such as the French Society for Iranian Studies and Persian Art. Catalysed by the Society for National Heritage and under the guise of Persian art, the all-out effort to win public support for the recognition of modern Iran was thus orchestrated both inside Iran and abroad. Conclusion At a time when communications were more limited than today, the image that the public had of a foreign country was either promoted by ideas inherited from the previous generation, or communicated by the nationals of the country in question, or reported by travellers and journalists.
In the s, according to the government of the new Pahlavi dynasty and foreign travellers, the perception of Iran in the West had become obsolete and no longer matched the reality. Since its name had changed in on the international scene, Iran should no longer be regarded as the ancient Persia which had so much attracted the romantics. In the logic of the new system of values put forward by the Pahlavi dynasty, it was necessary to distinguish the past from the present and mostly to highlight a promising future without losing the benefit of a prestigious history.
In order to create a new public opinion, the government of Riza Shah Pahlavi not only founded the Society for National Heritage Anjuman-e Asar-e Milli in , but also gave greater visibility to artefacts of Persian culture and cleverly attracted and supported the Western experts on Persian art—a generic term encompassing any aspect of Persian culture from antiquity to the end of the Safavid dynasty in the 18th century.
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