Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Lovers

Painting by Riza-yi `Abbasi (ca. 1565–1635)
Object Name:
Illustrated single work
dated A.H. 1039/ A.D. 1630
Attributed to Iran, Isfahan
Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper
Painting: H. 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm) W. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm) Page: H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm) W. 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm) Mat: H. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) W. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Francis M. Weld Gift, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
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)
Theresienhöhe. "Meisterwerke Muhammedanisher Kunst," 1910, no. 747.

London. Burlington House. "International Exhibition of Persian Art," January 7, 1931–February 28, 1931, no. 695.

New York. Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Persian Fresco Paintings," October 12, 1932–November 20, 1932, fig.1.

Wilson, Arnold T. "7th January to 28th February, 1931." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd. ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 695.

Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. Vol. I-VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. vol. III, p. 1886.

Golombek, Lisa. "Toward a Classification of Painting." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 29, ill. fig. 9 (b/w).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Richard Ettinghausen. "Islamic Painting." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., vol. 36, no. 2 (Autumn 1978). pp. 30-31, ill. p. 30 (color).

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. pp. 110-111, ill. fig. 81 (color).

Canby, Sheila R. "The Drawings and Paintings of Riza-Yi Abbasi of Isfahan." In The Rebellious Reformer of Isfahan . London: Azimuth Editions, 1996. no. 125, pp. 167, 173, ill. p. 167 (color).

Nashat, Guity, and Lois Beck, ed. Women in Iran from the Rise of Islam to 1800. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003. p. 221, ill. fig. 6 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 148, p. 221, ill. p. 221 (color).

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