The king liked European art

Even when I was studying fine art in Iran (its abortion by Islamic Cultural Revolution notwithstanding), I knew more about the history of European art than that of Iran. Like many of my peers, I assumed that European portraiture influence in Iranian art was a Qajar phenomenon. I was wrong by, well, some 200 years. This is another placeholder for more expansion later:

[D]uring 1642-3 Shah ‘Abbas II, who appreciated European arts, dispatched a group of students to Rome to acquire Western painting techniques. It is believed that the delegation included Muhammad Zaman, also known as Paulo Zaman. He joined the rank of royal artists during the reign of Shah Sulayman and left an impact on Persian representational art. (Tavakoli-Targhi, Refashioning Iran, pp 39-40)

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