Naser al-Din Shah

Artist: Possibly by Luigi Pesce (Italian, 1818–1891)

Person in Photograph: Person in photograph Naser od-Din Shah (Iranian, Tehran 1831–1896 Tehran)

Date: ca. 1855–58

Medium: Salted paper print from paper negative

Dimensions: Image: 19.5 x 13.5 cm (7 11/16 x 5 5/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of Charles K. and Irma B. Wilkinson, 1977

Accession Number: 1977.683.24


This photograph demonstrates what the medium brought to the art of portraiture-a certain personal and candid quality. Here, although Nasir al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) appears in a costume he wears in more formal portraits, the pose and expression adopted in this photograph are more relaxed. He is shown outdoors, seated rather than standing, and leaning back in a chair rather than sitting upright. One hand lies casually in his lap, the other is placed on his hip. This type of photograph reflects Nasir al-Din's interest in recording the private, daily life of his household in addition to using photography to capture the official aspects of the court. He was a photographer himself and among his favorite subjects were members of his family and personal harem.