Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part I)


Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part I)

The work of the miniaturist Muhammad Murad in the Shah-nama manuscript demonstrates features of an innovative style differing both from the heart and Behzad as well as Mawarannahr styles described above.

Expressive style of Muhammad Murad Samarkandi (Part I)

Muhammad Murad is an artist of the romantic style, but his romanticism is not lyrical but deeply dramatic and oriental. His work fits exactly the heroic spirit of the epic poem by Firdawsi. For his compositions he chose themes of sharp collision rather than harmless conversation or court receptions. Culmination of scene with bloody bat is that the outcome is still in doubt; there is a sad scene of mourning over the hero and Siyavush on a horse burning in the fire and the noble hero Piran driven up to a rock. 

With only narrow blank strips left by the calligrapher on the folios at his disposal, the artist includes only a few characters in his compositions, but he locates them in such way that it creates an illusion of multi-figured scenes. In contrast to the smoothly flowing lines of miniaturists of the Behzadian style, Muhammad Murad demonstrates strong, sometimes angular and bent contours. 

His coloring of landscape, clothes and backgrounds is expressive rather than natural. The artist turns to sudden and unexpected colors and their combinations – blue and pink horses, violet ground, fire-red borders of heaven. The emotional character of the miniatures of Muhammad Murad was created by means of art, which conveys the heat of passion and feeling, which fill up the scenes of the “Shah-nama.”

You can learn more about this topic in the book-album “The Collection of the Al-Biruni Institute of Oriental studies, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan” (part five, “Miniature and Calligraphy”) (Volume XXV) from the series "The Cultural Legacy of Uzbekistan". 

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