Sultan Mohammad, The Painter
Rahman Ahmadi Maleki
Reprinted from: Honar Nameh, University of Art, Tehran, No. 12, Fall 2001 (A brief of the article)
The Tabriz School of Miniature Painting went through two stages. The first period was that of the Mongol Ilkhans in fifteenth century. The second period was during the reign of Safavid kings, Ismail and Tahmasb in the seventeenth century. Both periods produced notable artists, who skillfully illustrated the major works of Persian literature, such as Ferdowsi’s “Shah-nameh”, Collection of Poems of Hafiz, Nezami’s “Khamseh”, leaving an indelible mark on pictorial arts of Iran.
One of the notable artists of the Tabriz school, in the second period, is Sultan Mohammad. His creations, revealing very strong compositions with delightful warm colors, enormously influenced later artists. He was active in the middle of the seventeenth century at the time of Shah Ismail and Shah Tahmasb.
There is little information about his youth. He appears to have been born during the reign of the last Ilkhans, between 1491 and 1501, spending his route in their royal ateliers. His ancestors were among Iranians, who had lived a long time in Iraq, hence references to him in many sources as “Sultan Mohammad Iraqi”.
After the victory of Shah Ismail over Sheibak Khan, the Uzbek, and the consolidation of Safavid rule in Tabriz, he worked in their royal ateliers and taught young artists there, including the seven-year-old crown prince, Mirza Tahmasb. Later, he collaborated with Aqa Mirak and Mir Khalil Mosavar and his other apprentices, illustrating the main works of Persian literature. Thus, he trained many young apprentices and help them to become masters in their own right.