Thoughts About Some Portraits From the Collection of the State Museum of the Temurids History

Ulugbek Mamatov,

At the end of XX-beginning of XXI centuries masters of fine arts of Uzbekistan considered that it was necessary to create portraits of Amir Temur and the Temurids. For this purpose they began to study thoroughly national history and culture for the most exact images of these famous historic figures. In 1997 the State Museum of the Temurids History and the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan announced a contest on creation of portraits of the Temurids. The representative commission consisting of scientist-historians and artists selected sketches, which could form a basis for future portraits. Artists in the course of work got acquainted with historical documents about the Temurids and their literary heritage, studied events of that time, architecture and interiors of palaces. Description of historical persons and images of princes were studied on the bases of annalistic sources, as well as medieval miniatures, which reflected scenes of palace life.
Works of Kamaliddin Behzad and his students from Herat school served as a good assistance for the artists. Miniature painters, whose creative heritage is a great artistic-esthetic and ethnographic value, thoroughly reflected in their works the internal decoration of palaces, clothing items of the heroes and their images. For the first time images of the Temurids-Governors and their warriors were depicted in portraits of modern artists.
Among the authors of some historical portraits of the Temurids, there are the artists A. Ikramdzhanov created the portrait of “Ulugbek Mirzo”, A. Mamatova – the portrait of “Babur Mirzo” and A. Alikulov – the portrait of ” Khalil Sulton Mirzo”. Works of Akmal Ikramdzhanov are considerable with the observance of traditions of realistic school. The portraits created by him are executed with grate skill and inspiration. The professional and technical culture of the artist is high. In his paintings even small details of nature do not escape from his attention. Portraits of the artist differ in spirituality and completeness, and compositions are difficult and monumental.
Akmal Ikramdzhanov said: “In the artist’s soul, eventually and under demands of the era there are some changes. In 1992 I had a big emotional need to paint historical portraits. This was the birth of my deepest interest in national history. I wanted to continue the traditions of my teachers and to create truthful images of the great people. Only real works of art can be a source of light and goodness” (1, page 2).
The portraits created by the artist A. Ikramdzhanov differ in the internal and external beauty, spirituality, integrity of color, and due to these qualities – the plastic clarity. Thanks to completeness of execution, they represent considerable esthetic value. Exactly such, completed as conceived, is the portrait of Mirzo Ulugbek (1394-1449) created by him in 1999. The portrait had a great success and was accepted as a standard image of the great scholar of the medieval East Mirzo Ulugbek, where A. Ikramdzhanov portrayed him in the prime of his life. Against a dark background of the work there is an ochre color throne with wavy geometrical ornament, on which the governor sits in imperial clothes. On his head there is a turban with a silvery feather attached to a ruby. Blue attire of Mirzo Ulugbek has arabesque style golden embroidery from shoulders to the edge of sleeves. The ruler’s face is portrayed in three quarters; his eyes are attentive and expressive.
In a series of portraits of the Temurids the artist Aziza Mamatova painted the portrait of Zakhiriddin Muhammad Babur Mirzo (1483-1530) – the grandson of Amir Temur. He was born in Askha settlement in the Fergana Valley, where the youngest son of Amir Temur Umarshaykh Mirzo governed. This portrait is a penetrating poetical story about difficult and complicated life of the king, warrior and poet. Babur Mirzo was raised by mother Nigorkhanum and the sister Honzoda, who were educated women. On the portrait Babur Mirzo is depicted sitting in a chair at midnight in the garden. His elegant right hand freely hangs down from the chair armrest, slender and strong fingers hold a feather, his left hand holds a sheet of white paper and eyes are turned to afar. On a complex silver-blue colored background of the sky, Mirzo Babur’s face, depicted in three quarters, looks thoughtful. Thin gentle lines of his face are full of nobility and inspiration. A shot-sleeved gold jacket edged by fur of a snow leopard is put on a silk red shirt with small white florets. On a golden background of the robe gazelles are sewed by multi-colored silk threads. On his head there is a large light green turban made of ornate light silk fabric with golden thin stripes. A peacock feather is fixed to the turban by a faceted ruby. The governor, poet and thinker looks as if remembers his past life in the homeland, which he had to leave.
In Uzbekistan since the 90-ies of the XX century, many works accurately reflecting images of major personalities appeared in the historical portrait genre. Among them there is a portrait of Amir Temur’s grandson Sultan Khalil Mirzo (1384-1411) by the artist Alisher Alikulov, who depicted him as a young, strong, courageous man with mighty constitution. The portrait is made in three quarters of the figure. Sultan stands at a window of one of magnificent palace rooms. His eyes look forward, expressing steadfastness in pursuing of goals. Military armor fit like a glove on his mighty body. The helmet cast from precious metals with minted ornament is very good. The belt is decorated with patterns from precious stones. His left hand rests on the sword hilt, and the right hand is clenched. Body movements, facial expression, and concentrated look – everything is in concordance. The enlightened face expresses sadness and at the same time determination.
In the course of creative searches Uzbek masters of the fine arts combine graphic language of the East and West, creating synthesis and harmony by means and methods of the art image, enriching the images created by them with plasticity, color and composition.
Paintings of historical genre help the viewer to understand the history of a nation and educate him in the spirit of patriotism. The choice of ideological and thematic content in the historical genre depends on intuition, professional culture and education of masters of the fine arts, which language is one of important means of esthetic education of harmoniously developed person. The defining features of historical works in the modern Uzbek fine arts are their documentary, reliability of the facts, which are consequence of informational fullness of the modern world. The breadth of coverage of historical events, specifics of characters, and expressiveness of images put the works of historical genre in the Uzbek fine arts on especially significant place among other types of art. Modern Uzbek artists realize the responsibility entrusted to them: this is deep knowledge of the historical era, in which their heroes lived, and their social environment, national clothes, including their own professional skill. Reconsideration of decorative principles of art of Central Asia in the works of modern artists brings a special originality in works of the historical genre of the fine arts, being an example of its development at the present stage.
Keywords: history, creativity, culture, composition, painting, harmony

1. Makhmudov T. Preface to the album of A.Ikramdzhanov. Tashkent, 2002.

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