Although idealized, this richly dressed woman must represent one of the wealthy Armenian families in the capital Isfahan. She wears a fine silver-ground brocaded robe with a sleeveless velvet coat, probably Italian in origin, and holds an elaborate Venetian wineglass. Her imaginary setting is equally grand, with Italian marble floors, an ornate column, and an extravagant vase, confirming Armenian familiarity with Western settings and accouterments. Recently, an almost identical version of this painting was identified in the Royal Collection, Great Britain (see photograph), suggesting that some of the Safavid oil portraits were done in multiples.
Portrait of an Armenian lady
Iran, Isfahan, Safavid period, ca. 1650–75
Oil on canvas
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha