The subject of the exhibition itinerary is a series of precious Persian works from the Safavid period , dating back to the 16th and early 17th centuries, for the first time offered to the admiration of the Italian public. The splendid silk fabrics and the fascinating miniatures from a private collection are united by the presence of representations of characters in Persian costume that are linked to the subjects represented on the carpets exhibited at Palazzo Rosso.
In the early years of the seventeenth century, these refined and exotic figures also caught the attention of Pieter Paul Rubens , as evidenced by some drawings now preserved in the British Museum, the reproduction of which is visible in the exhibition, together with that of the numerous paintings in which the great Flemish master has inserted Persian costumes, carpets and fabrics.
An exceptional work is also exhibited in the same venue, a Persian miniature with a biblical subject (Susanna and the Elders), made by a Persian painter inspired by a Rubens model , testimony of an intercultural dialogue that also deeply involved the artists who worked within the Safavid empire.
Interest in Safavid Persia was also shared by many Genoese at the same time, in line with a tradition of relations with this part of the eastern world dating back to the Middle Ages. The city, which in 1605 welcomed Anthony Sherley, the famous English ambassador of Shah Abbas, brother of Robert, portrayed by Anton van Dyck in 1622 in oriental clothes, continued to be an important hub of trade with the Middle and Far East and the influx of valuable goods from Persia was also ensured thanks to the intermediation of Armenian merchants.