The Lovers

Artist: Painting by Riza-yi `Abbasi (Persian, ca. 1565–1635)

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: dated A.H. 1039/ A.D. 1630

Geography: Attributed to Iran, Isfahan

Medium: Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper

Dimensions: 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)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Purchase, Francis M. Weld Gift, 1950

Accession Number: 50.164


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.