"This video is an excellent introduction to Qajar art. There are voluminous examples of work shown, both in full and in close-up detail. The commentary is informative, without being too technical or overly scholarly. The video is therefore recommended both to academic libraries and public libraries with a strong art collection or significant Iranian population."
Educational Media Review Online (EMRO)
"An outstanding documentary that lavishly and informatively explores the evolution of palace art during Iran's Qajar Dynasty (1785-1925), "Of Kings and Paintings" puts things in an interesting historical context right from the start. Showing a 19th century map in which Iran, known at the time as Persia, is clearly squeezed between Russia and British-occupied India, the film underscores the importance of Persia sending signals that foreign occupiers and would-be colonizers should think twice about invading. Toward that end, a succession of Shahs during the Qajar era surrounded themselves with artists and poets to, essentially, brand them, creating images of Persia's rulers the latter particularly wanted to convey in a dangerous world. Explaining the significance of details in murals and portraits of Shahs, several experts on Iran's art antiquities tell us how images of fictional characters and European leaders added to myths built around one or another Shah, exalting them each in unique ways tailored to given moments in global dynamics. Happily, we get to see many of these artworks from over 200 years in all their lavish glory. Strongly recommended."
Tom Keogh, Video Librarian
"'Of Kings and Paintings' is an extraordinary documentary, and such a valuable resource to teach about the incredible Qajar period of art in Iran. I liked that the documentary covered so many angles- art historical, historical, past exhibitions and that it was presented from an interdisciplinary perspective. It was a pleasure to view it."
Dr. Laura-Maria Popoviciu
Curator: Research & Information (Historical)
Government Art Collection, London
"'Of Kings and Paintings' is a superbly done film that traces, for the first time, the complete art history of Qajar painting and its extraordinary evolution from the founding of the dynasty to its demise. Its focus on individual paintings and painters examines specific works of art rarely seen by or inaccessible to the wider public. It is an excellent resource for academics and researchers and a valuable contribution to the study of Qajar Iran."
Professor Talinn Grigor
Chair of Art History Program
Dept. of Art and Art History
University of California, Davis
"It was a pleasure to work with Mehran Haghighi, Sara Nodjoumi and distinguished scholars of Qajar history and art, Abbas Amanat and Layla Diba, in creating this stunning documentary. "Of Kings and Paintings" is the first film to focus on the art of the Qajar period with an emphasis on portraiture and its evolution in nineteenth century Iran. It will serve as a valuable and visually compelling resource for academics, researchers, students and lovers of Persian art and culture."
Maryam Ekhtiar, Curator
Department of Islamic Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"'Of Kings and Paintings' is excellent in the way it presents great, seductive and utterly unique art. The informative commentary by first-rate historians only adds to the documentary's quality, providing context to the little-known artistic legacy of Qajar Iran."
Distinguished Professor of
Middle Eastern History
University of Delaware
"…Masterfully done! 'Of Kings and Paintings' traces without bias...the complex history of the early Qajars all the way through Naser al-Din Shah with ease and accuracy, without dwelling on the details and controversies that would have taken it into polemical territory. Both the cinematography and editing are excellent, and the commentaries by Drs. Amanat, Diba and Ekhtiyar add further depth and dimensionality. The second part of the film, from the reign of Mozaffar al-Din Shah to the early Pahlavi era and beyond to the adaptation of Qajar art by contemporary artists, could not be more timely. It is a good coincidence that both LACMA and the Broad have exhibits of Ghadirian and Neshat currently, which reflect the continued relevance of Qajar art. Congratulations on a job extremely well done."
Director of Middle East Studies
Santa Barbara Community College