07/14/06 - art in india

In today's excerpt - art in India. From the fourteenth century to the nineteenth century, some of the most exquisite paintings in the world were the miniatures being created in India in such royal places as the Mughal Court. Most were watercolors, and were typically close to 12 X 12 inches in size:

"... paintings made in India between the fourteenth century and the nineteenth are for the most part tiny works of art originally intended to be held in the hands of a single person and examined closely. ...

"In many ways the illuminated books ... and the individual paintings and drawings that originated in the court workshops of the Indian subcontinent are like jewels. As portable luxury goods, both types of objects are treasured for their artistry, their fine colors and polished finishes, their status as courtly accoutrements. Over the years, both have been given as gifts to commemorate political alliances, included as parts of dowry settlements, seized as booty in conquest amassed into royal treasuries, sought after by collectors, preserved and exhibited throughout the world. ...

"When Ernest Binfield Havell (1861-1934) began to assemble a collection of Indian miniature paintings for the Calcutta Art Gallery in 1896, he did not realize that he was laying the foundation for a new branch of art history. Nor did he realize that he was initiating a modern tradition of collecting that would take root in India (and) spread to London, Paris and New York ..."

Though the internet cannot do justice to them, links to two examples are provided below:

Ravat Gokuldas Resting After Hunt

Sultan Abdullah Qutb

(The Sainsbury Collection)


Darielle Mason with contributions by B.N. Goswamy, Terence McInerney, John Seyller, Ellen Smart


Intimate Worlds: Indian Paintings from the Alvin O. Bellak Collection


Philadelphia Museum of Art


Copyright 2001 Philadelphia Museum of Art


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