Tehran Turns into Gallery Town Again

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Tehran looks very different now; if you are walking the streets of the Iranian capital these days, make sure to turn your eyes upward, or you will miss the chance to see the biggest art gallery in existence. Copies of famous works of art, including many by prominent Western and Iranian artists, appeared  on billboards and tableaus across the capital city of Tehran. Over 2000 billboard ads have been replaced with images by Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and Henri Matisse and reproductions of traditional Persian miniatures, carpets, calligraphy and many more for ten days, turning the face of the city into a huge art gallery. The images selected for the project, “A Gallery as Large as a City”, are copies of paintings generally kept in the world museums. The artists have been chosen from across the world from the German expressionist Käthe Kollwitz to Danish-French impressionist Camille Pissarro to Japanese early nineteenth century artist Katsushika Hokusai. The tremendous success of last year’s project promoted Tehran Municipality under the management of Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf to have another go at it. Two-third of the works are from Iran and by Iranian artists and the rest have been selected from the world’s major artists, some of which may be famous enough to be recognized by nearly half of the population, such as Van Gogh’s The Starry Night or Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl EarringNot all copies are of paintings, however. Some of the billboards are dedicated to pictures of objects of cultural heritage, such as an Iranian carpet with the image of a lion belonging to the 19th century, or an engraved steel plate dating back to the Safavid era. Some paintings also depicted some verses from Ferdowsi’s Shahnama, such as the famous tragedy of Sohrab, where Rostam, the father, kills his own son unwittingly.

*Photo Credit: Tehran Times, Fararu, Mehr News

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