Art: The Gardens of the Princes

In Washington, a landmark show of Persian miniatures

In hindsight, the glories of kings are apt to depend on the available talent. All the last Shah of Iran could rake up by way of a court artist was Andy Warhol. Four hundred years before, his predecessors were more fortunate. The first three-quarters of the 16th century in the courts of Persia formed one of the supreme periods in the history of art: a Middle Eastern equivalent, perhaps, of Florence between 1450 and 1500, or 16th century Venice, or Paris between 1880 and 1930. It...

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