Muhammad Zaman (d. circa 1700) was one of the first Safavid court painters to imitate European painting styles and perspective. There have been some suggestions that Zaman travelled to Italy to study European painting before returning to Iran. This is doubtful as his work actually shows more Flemish rather than Italian influence; Flemish painting and prints circulated widely in 17th Century Iran (Anthony Welch, Shah Abbas & the Arts of Isfahan, New York, 1973, p.148).
A comparable miniature by Muhammad Zaman of another biblical scene in the Fogg Art Museum (inv. 1966.6), dated AH 1100/1689 AD, depicts the 'return from the flight to Egypt';(Welch, op. cit. pl. 72, p. 108). The origin of that miniature has been traced to a mid-seventeenth century engraving by Lucas Vosterman, a Flemish artist. The engraving is in turn based upon an original painting by Peter Paul Rubens, (Welch, op. cit. p. 117). This illustrates how European influence manifested itself in the work of Muhammad Zaman. The Fogg Art Museum miniature is also interesting for its dedication to a 'successful Lord', which also praises Jesus in very specific terms. Anthony Welch suggested that that miniature was produced for a wealthy Armenian Christian patron in Isfahan. It is quite possible that our miniature was also commissioned by an Armenian patron.
Muhammad Zaman frequently painted for royal Safavid patrons. Works attributed to him include miniatures added and restored in Shah Tahmasp I's copy of the Khamsa of Nizami (British Library inv. Or.2265). An especially fine example of Muhammad Zaman's 'Europeanised' style, depicting a quintessentially Persian scene of the 'The Simurgh assisting at the birth of Rustam' was added to the Shahnama of Tahmasp I, dated AH 1087/1676 in the collection of the Chester Beatty Library (inv. ms.277.f.3b.; A.J. Arberry (ed.), The Chester Beatty Library- A Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts and Miniatures, Dublin, 1962, pl. 38). By these royal commissions it can be assumed that Muhammad Zaman was at some point attached to the Royal atelier or kitabkhaneh of the Safavids (A. Ivanov, Persian Miniatures, in E. Kostioukovitch (ed.), The St. Petersburg Muraqqa', Milan, 1996, p. 35).