The artist Riza‑yi 'Abbasi revolutionized Persian painting and drawing with his inventive use of calligraphic line and unusual palette. He painted The Lovers toward the end of a long, successful career at the Safavid court. The subject of a couple entwined reflects a newly relaxed attitude to sensuality introduced in the reign of Shah Safi (r. 1629–42). Here the figures are inextricably bound together, merged volumes confined within one outline.
Signature: Signed and dated by Riza-yi `Abbasi
Inscription: Signature and date in Persian in nasta‘liq script:
در روز 3 شنبه هشتم شهر شوال/ با إقبال سنهٔ 1039 به إتمام رسید. رقم کمینه رضاء عباسى/ ه
Completed on Tuesday, eighth of Shawwal, from the fortunate year of
A.H. 1039 [May 21, 1630 A.D.]. Painted by the humble Riza-yi ‘Abbasi
Friedrich Sarre, Berlin (by 1910–d. 1945); his wife, Maria Sarre, Ascona, Switzerland, (until 1950; sold to Paul Kempner forMMA)
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