عنوان مقاله [English]
In the long history of painting, the representative aspect of art has been embodied in different forms. Each painting can be seen as a representation of a particular attitude to subjects. Formalistically, this attitude is particularly manifested in the "point of view" of artworks. Since the advent of the Renaissance, subjects in painting were for centuries seen from a "single" and "fixed" perspective in accordance with precise perspective-centered representational presumptions. However, this approach merely showed a "single" visual tradition. Before the beginning of modern times, subjects were illustrated in painting not from different point of view rather than a "single" perspective.
A major feature of Persian miniature painting is adopting different points of view for representation. Given the historical conditions of the mode of production of Persian miniatures, it seems that many such arranged combinations have been transferred as visual traditions from an artist or a school style to another. In this regard, this paper examines how points of view have been combined in the illustrated manuscript of Baysonghor Shahnameh.
Baysonghor Shahnameh was started to be formed by the order of Baysonghor Mirza in the first half of the ninth century A.H. The manuscript is composed of twenty-two miniatures. This piece represents the formal and disciplined style of miniaturists in Baysonghor Mirza's era. It is also among the outstanding artworks of the Herat School that dramatically influenced the later transformations in this art during Timurid, Turkic, and Safavid courts. Examining the miniatures of this period can pave the way for identifying the methods used to combine points of view in the Herat School and open a new window to the extension of this tradition into Persian miniature.
This paper's "theoretical framework" attempts to introduce the method for combining points of view as a notable index for the stylistics of paintings, especially in pre-modern pieces. This framework is founded on the ideas of Erwin Panofsky and critical reading of ideas of the "reverse perspective" theory adherents, aiming to define the method for combing points of view as visual traditions. Furthermore, this review attempts to introduce L. F. Zhegin's peculiar analyses on determining the principles of formal metamorphoses that result from combining points of view.
Since this paper seeks to identify visual principles in this manuscript, it attempts to use various illustrations to manifest the "iteration" and "metamorphosis" of the combining methods. The paper also tries to trace the most important combination principles in the future trend of Persian miniature art.
The miniatures in Baysonghor Shahnameh explicitly manifest change and dynamisms of point of view. This change is not simply from an object to another; the change is also in how a specific object is represented. It seems that despite the wide variety of the method for combining points of view in this manuscript's miniatures, one can speak of several principles of applying these combinations, principles that have been iterated in the miniatures of the manuscript and have been of use in Persian miniature art.
The most inclusive and typical combination of points of view in the miniatures of this manuscript involves the arrangement of objects and figures on a setting often regarded from a bird's-eye view. This arrangement of combing points of view dates back to a long time ago in the history of pre-modern painting and has been widely used in Persian miniatures. It seems that in this tradition, everything lying on the background surface is painted from this point of view. In Baysonghor Shahnameh miniatures, this notion is visible in representation of the carpets, rugs, pools and chess boards. Thus, one can speak of the continuity of using fixed points of view in the history of Persian miniature art, meaning that in this tradition, some objects have consistently been seen from a specific point of view. One can also observe the generalization of such a point of view in representation of the backgrounds of pieces. For instance, in the case of martial miniatures, it is unjustifiable to claim that all battles would have been fought on hill or mountain ridges. It seems that the tendency to create a pictorial atmosphere from a "high horizon," especially found in martial miniatures, shows the generalization of the application of this principle in representing the background of narrative scenes.
Besides, the combination of points of view has also been used in illustrating single objects. "Tables" in Baysonghor Shahnameh are typically illustrated by extending top and side surfaces while rear legs protrude outwards. This makes their representation an obvious form of reverse perspective, meaning the extension of side lines becomes convergent. This structure results from the movement of points of view upwards in the vertical direction and sideways in the horizontal direction. This combining method has also been used in the representation of bed stairs. These stairs are often turned to augment their top or side surfaces.
In Baysonghor Shahnameh, "bed" is divided into two patterns, selected in proportion to the narrative of the miniature. In beds seen from the front, bed handles are seen from opposite angles, meaning that the extension of parallel lines will be intensely convergent, making the audience assume the handles are positioned on the same surface beyond the bed. Other beds are turned toward a single direction. Zhegin's analysis indicates that this twist causes objects to get closer to the margins of the work. This twist has been iterated in many miniatures of the Herat School and Safavid miniature art. This direction shares a structural resemblance with the direction to produce a three-quarter view of faces in Baysonghor Shahnameh. In this manuscript, most faces have been illustrated from a three-quarter angle regardless of their place and how they regard narrator centers of the illustration. This is the traditional point of view in Persian miniatures. Faces in this tradition are often represented from a three-quarter angle and shown outwards with a tilt either to the left or right. The manuscript also displays a known and conventional method in Persian miniature art for representing bodies: three-quartered faces are placed on shoulders represented oppositely, and legs are illustrated from a side view angle. This is true about the points of view of all cavalry in martial miniatures in this manuscript.
In Baysonghor Shahnameh, chambers are illustrated from the opposite view, and the internal space is generally recognized by the objects placed inside, indicating the tendency to create space using content elements. However, in this manuscript, there is a miniature illustrating the scene where Bozorgmehr plays chess before the Sasanid King, Khosrow I, in which the chamber's space has been created using diagonal lines of architectural elements. In this structure, sidewalls are displayed from a wider view, and the chamber becomes intensely convergent due to the reciprocal motion of points of view. Other miniatures in this manuscript exhibit a reverse widening of the exterior view of the walls outwards. This combination (intense convergence of interior walls and the divergence of exterior walls) has been iterated in Herat School and Safavid miniatures.
The above are the most important ways to combine viewing angles in this version. Combining multiple views in the representation of each object and the way of placing these objects in relation to each other is one of the most important decisions of painters in representing narrative scenes. However, this decision is not limited to the painter's individual creativity in a specific time and place. As indicated, the iteration of applying these methods in this manuscript as well as in Persian miniature art is so prominent that one can call it a visual tradition, a tradition that is transferred from an artist to another and from a school to another. Future research can further pursue such combinations to contribute to a more accurate stylistic reading of Persian miniature art.