Three men in Qajar clothing are pictured amongst magnificent ruins of columns and column bases in a desert, against a back drop of tall, sheer mountains. The remains of the city or temple would be unidentifiable if it were not for the beautifully rendered bull sculptures, which would have been originally placed on top of the columns, in the foreground. They alert us to this scene being Texier’s impression of the ancient city of Persepolis. Following the French government’s decision to send Texier on his travels – and to record his discoveries – it is unsurprising that a large section of his work is dedicated to the ruins of Persepolis. Located at the foot of Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy) in south-western Iran, Persepolis is a world-famous archaeological site. It is considered the gem of Achaemenid (c. 550-330 BCE) architecture, urban planning, construction techniques and art. The painting features the same composition as the engraving that accompanies Texier’s book denoting his visit to this ancient site (Texier, pl. 136).
Texier, C. L’Arménie, la Perse et la Mésopotamie, Paris, 1842, Vol 1-2.