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Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India, 1100-1900by John Guy
Synopses & Reviews
Traditionally, Indian paintings have been classified according to regional styles or dynastic periods, with an emphasis on subject matter and narrative content. This fascinating publication counters the long-held view of the anonymity of Indian art, emphasizing the combined tools of connoisseurship and inscription evidence to reveal the identities of individual artists and their oeuvres through an analysis of style. Enchanting color illustrations highlight over one hundred works spanning eight centuries.
The introduction outlines the origins of early Indian painting in the first millennium, which set the scene for the development of the art of the book. The chapters that follow examine manuscript painting as it developed from palm leaf to paper; the Sultanate and North Indian Hindu tradition; the Mughal school under the patronage of emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan; the renaissance of the Hindu courts from 1650 to 1730; the later styles of the Punjab Hill and Rajasthani courts; Company School painting; and the coming of photography. Each chapter features a summary of the period and biographical essays of specific artists followed by a selection of their works. The eminent artists chosen are among the greatest in the history of Indian painting. Each could lay claim to the honorific bestowed by emperors on their favorite painters: Nadirai-i-zaman, "the wonder of the age."
"Intended as a supplement to the exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this volume splendidly explores 800 years of Indian painting, beginning with its origins as a form of interior decorating for 'palaces and places of worship' and illustration of 'both secular and sacred' texts, and bringing readers up to the brackish waters of the late 1800s, when innovative painter/photographers would hand-color black and white portraits. This ambitious tome explores various schools of thought and technique, in addition to examining how historical, religious, and geographical changes affected Indian painting. Debunking the assumption that much of Indian art was created anonymously, Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Guy (Indian Textiles in the East) and Museum Rietberg ZÃ¼rich curator Britschgi acquaint readers with the individuals responsible for the art, presenting a brief biography of each, as well as several of their works. From the richness of the lapis lazuli (an innovation courtesy of Iran) of the Kalpasutra manuscript to the dynamic detail of Shivalal's epic 'Maharana Fateh Singh shooting a leopard at Kamlod ka Magra,' the beautifully reproduced images will make this book appeal to Indian art aficionados as well as those looking for a digestible introduction to an oeuvre of lesser-known masters. Illus. and maps. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Dispelling the long-held view of the anonymity of Indian artists, this fascinating publication identifies over forty painters of masterpieces spanning eight centuries
This vividly illustrated publication features 110 works by many of the most eminent painters in the history of Indian art. These remarkable paintings, dating from 1100 to 1900, were selected according to identifiable artists, and they refute the long-held view of anonymous authorship in Indian art.
Traditionally, Indian paintings have been classified by regional styles or dynastic periods, with an emphasis on subject matter. Stressing the combined tools of connoisseurship and inscriptional evidence, the pioneering research reflected in this book has identified individual artists and their oeuvres through the analysis of style.
The introductory essay outlines the origins of early Indian painting of the first millennium, which set the scene for the development of the art of the book. The sections that follow examine manuscript painting as it evolved from palm-leaf to paper, the emergence of traditional painting as an independent art form, and its demise with the coming of photography. Biographies of the artists whose works appear in this volume and a glossary of their major literary sources provide valuable context.
About the Author
John Guy is Florence and Herbert Irving Curator of the Arts of South and Southeast Asian Art, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jorrit Britschgi is Curator of Indian Painting, Museum Rietberg Zürich.
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