Molk

Kamal-ol-molk

Mohammad Ghaffari better known as Kamal-ol-Molk (also Kamal-al-Molk) was a famous Iranian painter.

Born in 1847 in Kashan, Iran, he went to Tehran and studied at Dar-ol-Fonoon. His progress was so rapid that he became the royal painter of King Nasereddin Shah at the age of 18.

In 1896 the King sent him to Europe for continuation of his studies at the Louvre, Florence, and Versailles. After returning to Iran in 1898, as a royal painter for Nasereddin Shah he faced constant envy and jealousy from certain members of the royal court and eventually ended up fleeing to Kerbala, Iraq under the pretext of going for pilgrimage. There, he created some of his famous works such as "falgeer e Baghdadi" ("the fortune teller of Baghdad"), "zargar e baghdadi va shagerdash" ("The Baghdadi goldsmith and his pupil"), "meidan e Karbala" ("The Kerbala square"), and "Arab e Khofteh" ("the sleeping Arab").

He died in 1939 and was buried in Nishapur next to the medieval giant of Sufism, Farid al-Din Attar.

Two-hundred of his paintings are said to still remain. His life and works is portrayed by director Ali Hatami in his movie, Kamalolmolk.

Kamal-ol-Molk school of painting was perpetuated by his disciples and their students with such famous names as Mahmoud Olia, Kazem Ordoobadi and Abbas Katouzian.

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