Iran Unveils New Miniature Paintings by Master Mahmoud Farshchian

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

Two new miniature paintings by world-renowned Iranian artist Mahmoud Farshchian have been unveiled in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

‘Sham-e Ghariban’ (The Night of the Oppressed) and ‘The Fourth Heaven’ were unveiled during a ceremony held at Farshchian Museum of Sa'dabad Cultural and Historical Complex on Sunday, September 6, 2015.

The ceremony was attended by a number of senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization Masoud Soltanifar.

“Farshchian’s works have always been the most significant gifts I’ve ever offered to ministers and ambassadors of other countries,” Zarif said during the unveiling ceremony.

He added that no other work can express the prominence, spirituality and humane nature of Iranian art better than Farshchian’s creations.

Farshchian is known as Iran's master of miniatures, whose works have been displayed in numerous galleries and museums around the world such as the British Library, Freer Gallery of Art, Bibliotheque Nationale, Metropolitan Museum and Harvard University.

The 85-year-old artist was chosen as an outstanding 21st century intellectual by Cambridge and has received an honorary doctorate in Iranian painting and Islamic arts from the High Council of Culture and Art.

He has won numerous national and international awards, including the gold statuette of Italy’s Vessillo Europa Delle Arte in 1984 and the gold medal of Belgium’s 1958 International Art Festival.

Iran’s Cultural Heritage Foundation established the Museum of Master Mahmoud Farshchian, devoted to the works of the veteran artist, at Tehran’s Sa'dabad Cultural and Historical Complex in 2001.

Mahmoud Farshchian, Master of Persian Miniature

January 24 marked the birth anniversary of Mahmoud Farshchian, a master of Persian painting and miniature.

His paintings have become symbols of Iranian contemporary arts in the world.

He was born in Isfahan in 1929. His surname is taken from his father’s profession who was a rug merchant. His father was an art aficionado who instilled a love for the arts in his son.

Young Mahmoud showed an interest in arts quite early in life and studied under the tutelage of Haji Mirza-Aqa Emami and Issa Bahadori for several years.

Growing up, he was surrounded by many architectural masterpieces that gradually and subliminally sharpened his awareness of proportion, color, and form. At the age of five, it became evident that his life would be devoted to art and painting.

While still in school, Farshchian was invited to learn painting from the famous masters of the time. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Isfahan, he traveled to Europe to study the works of Western artists.

Upon his return to Isfahan, Mahmoud began working in the General Office of Fine Arts (later the Ministry of Culture and Art).

He was later appointed to the position of administrator of National Arts. It was then that he joined the Faculty of Fine Arts of Tehran University as an art professor. It was there that he created many of his unique masterpieces.

Farshchian later moved to the United States and currently resides in the New York metropolitan area. When he came to the United States, Farshchian brought with himself many treasures which were welcomed by Bibliotheque Nationale, The British Library, Freer Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum, and Harvard University.

His works continue to be exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Asia, Europe and the United States, as well as in private collections. Master Farshchian has received many awards throughout his life, including a doctorate in fine arts. He has also received much praise from European academies and museums.

Farshchian's works are a pleasing composition of both nobility and innovation. His themes are cultivated from classic poetry, literature, the Koran, Christian and Jewish Holy books, as well as his own deep imagination.

His most outstanding works are based on human affections and moods, which appear most effectively in graceful faces and figures.

He developed an innovative artistic style with universal appeal.

His works are examples of Iranian painting blended with modern techniques. His works are inspired by literature and poetry. He has also used religious elements and concepts in paintings and pictured historical figures.

His works are full of creativity, dynamism, round spaces, flexible yet powerful lines and rippling colors.

Perhaps, his most famous painting is ‘Eve of Ashura’ (the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram).

This work is the most prominent painting picturing Ashura’s events. The painting depicts Imam Hussein’s (AS) horse which is moving toward his tent on the eve of Ashura.

Most art experts believe that the elements of this painting are very dexterously put together making it an unbelievably beautiful and impressive work of art.

Another famous work of Farshchian is ‘Shams and Rumi’ which was unveiled in 2007.

Commenting on his own work, he said, “I was inspired by one of Rumi’s (a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi) poems in creating this work.”

Farshchian has told many tales on canvas in his unique expression of what he calls ‘sur-naturalism’.

The design of the Zarih (the box-like latticed enclosure which is placed on top of the tomb), roof, door and cellar in the shrine of the 8th shiite Imam, Ali ibn Mus'ar-Reza in Mashhad and his membership in the committee supervising the construction of the shrine, is another artistic work of the master.


Painting and drawing (1976)
Master Farshchian's paintings in Shahnameh of Ferdowsi (1991)
Painting of the great heroes of Shahnameh (1991)
Mahmoud Farshchian Volume II Selected By UNESCO (1991)
Master Farshchian's paintings in Divan of Hafez (2002)
Master Farshchian's paintings in Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (2004)
Mahmoud Farshchian Volume III Selected By UNESCO (2004)


2011 - DeviantART, Daily Deviation for Apr 6.
2010 - DeviantART, Daily Deviation for Jun 26.
2010 - DeviantART, Daily Deviation for Mar 27.
2009 - DeviantART, Daily Deviation for Dec 13.
2001 - GODIVA Chocolates 75th Anniversary, USA
2001 - Who’s Who in the 21st Century, Cambridge, England
2000 - Outstanding intellectuals of the 21st Century, Cambridge, England
1995 - Gold Medal, Highest Honor
1987 - Golden Palm of Europe
1985 - Oscar D'Italia, gold statuette.
1984 - Vessillo Europa Delle Arte, gold statuette. Italy
1983 - Diploma Accadenu'co D'Europa, L’Accademia D'Europa. Italy
1983 - Diploma Maestro Di Pittura, II Seminario d'Arte Moderna. Italy
1982 - Diploma Di Merito, Universita Delle Arti. Italy
1980 - Academia Italia delle Arti e del Lavoro, gold medal.
1973 - Ministry of Culture and Art, 1st prize in art. Iran
1958 - International Art Festival, gold medal. Belgium
1952 - Military Art, gold medal. Iran

"Opening an art book of Mahmoud Farshchian is like leaping into the heart of a magical realm. A happy blend of the real and imaginary at once sets the tone for everything, thanks to an alchemy whose secret formula he seems to be one of the few to possess. People, nature, animals and objects are present; we recognize them for what they are, but at the same time we begin to see them differently. We do not see them in a dream, but touch them with a different way of looking. This is what makes Mahmoud Farshchian unique and exceptional. That is how it is. This is another stroke of the master's skill."

Federico Mayor   
Former Director General of UNESCO 

Link for Further Reading:

*Analysis of “The Evening of Ashura” Painting

*Watch the Video:

*Photo Credit: Mizanonline, ISNA, Tasnim, Press TV