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Sunday, 18 November 2012
Paintings of Indian Culture
Source:-(google.com.pk) Paintings of Indian Culture Biography
Curated by John Guy of the Met with the Rietberg's Jorrit Britschgi, this show celebrates the efforts of a small group of passionate scholars who, several decades ago, embarked on a mission to identify individual painters. Indian scribes signed their manuscripts but the artists who illustrated them were often anonymous. Eberhard Fischer, director of the Rietberg for more than three decades until 2006, began the art-historical hunting expedition to name names. “It is the person behind the painting whom we care for,” he says. Mr Fischer soon had the co-operation of two colleagues and friends, Milo Beach, former director of the Freer Gallery, and B.N. Goswamy, an art historian at Punjab University at Chandigarh.
The three wise men of Indian painting attracted other scholars to the project. Many began searching palace archives, pilgrimage registers, account books and land registries in an effort to do for Indian art what Bernard Berenson had done decades earlier in giving names to those painters who had previously been lumped together as Italian primitives.
The scholars found signatures embedded in many paintings just waiting for someone to take the trouble to look. More often, connoisseurship was their tool. This combination of a good eye, intelligence and intuition, combined with long experience of looking at Indian art, led to the identification of dozens of artists. Links between generations have become clear, as have the influence of brother upon brother, the place of an artist in an atelier, the travels from one court to another and the influence of imported European art. This research, which appears in a two- volume survey, provides the show's scholarly background.
This is the first time that an exhibition of this scale has concentrated on particular artists, their families and ateliers, rather than on the regions of India or particular patrons and rulers. The Met show begins with examples of the earliest surviving portable images in Indian art. Between the 12th and 16th centuries these manuscript illustrations, painted on palm leaves, were miniaturised versions of the vast murals that decorated Jain and Buddhist monasteries. The images, painted in flat, primary colours, are often the only surviving visual record of those murals.
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