Kamal-ol-Molk (Isfahan)

Kamal-ol-Molk (Isfahan)

Kamal-ol-Molk (Isfahan)

Mirza Mohammad Ghaffari, known as Kamal-ol-Molk, the famous Iranian painter, was born in Kashan about 1270 AH. He spent his childhood in his home town and after finishing his primary education, he moved to Tehran at the age of 15. He entered the school of Dar-ul-Funun to continue his studies. After three years, during his visit to the school at the end of year exams, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar saw one of Kamal-ol-molk’s pen drawings, which attracted his attention. Consequently, by the king’s decree, Kamal-ol-molk started the painting in a specific room set up for this purpose in the Building of Windcatchers (Emarat e Badgir) in the Golestan Palace.

After 4 years, he was honored by the title, Naghash Bashi (head painter), and in addition to awards and prizes, he was entitled "Kamal-ol-Molk" (Perfection on Land) in 1310 AH. Mirror Hall, is the first painting with his signature before his travel to France and he did not master of perspective in painting. Naser al-Din Shah gratified and favored him as Kamal-ol-molk said:” every time I created a painting, he praised it for a long time and after that, he put it on the floor and ordered to bring Ashrafi (gold coin).

He started to spread them on the painting as much as it was covered by them, then he told me take them.”  Kamal-ol-molk traveled to Europe in 1314 AH to study and to do painting for three years. He painted some tableaus adapting famous painters like Rambrandt in Louvre Museum, Versai Palace, and etc. which he brought to Iran when he came back. He decided to leave his country during reign of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar because he was obliged to do painting according to court taste. Therefore, he inhabited in Baghdad meanwhile he did some magnificent works such as Jewish Fortune Tellers of Baghdad, Karbala-ye-Moalla Square, and The Baqdadi goldsmith. He returned to Iran due to Mozaffar ad-Din Shah’s constant insist in 1323 AH, but he made a pretence of hand tremor in order to not to create a painting for him. His return coincided with the ian Constitutional Revolution, which he participated in and published some articles about.

 Establishing Sanaye Mostazrafeh Art School in following years, Kamal-ol-Molk was appointed as the director. But after a while, he gave up teaching and governmental job and went to his private property in Hoseynabad, Nishapur, in 1347 AH. Kamal-ol-Molk died of old age when he was 93 in 1359 AH (1319 SH).