Where would the history of Indian painting, especially of it medieval period, stand without the broad mention of Mughal Miniatures? It would be hard for an art critique to paint a complete picture of
Mughal Emperor Humayun had injected artistic flavour into the art of Indian painting when he brought two miniature artists from
On seeing the mughal miniatures we would think that this must be a Persian painting; such heavy was the influence of the Persian painting style on the minds of the Indian artists of that time. But the Mughal style of painting concisely narrates the life and choices of the people of medieval
The above miniature painting shows the mythical city of
Another painting is also of Lord Krishna. It is a mythological story that when a devastating rain was out to destroy the town where the devotees of Lord Krishna loved, the he lifted a mountain named Govardhan with his one finger and saved the crowd of people from the heavy rain. (Image courtesy By Mola Ram (1760-1833) (English Wikipedia) [public domain], from Wikimedia Common ]
Persian painters of miniature style used upright format and general setting with emphasis on flat aerial perspective. The Mighal era artists, especially in the time of King Akbar (1556-1605), maintained that qualities of the Persian style in their work. But they added their vision and took some artistic freedom. They applied naturalism in their work and tried depicting the detailed observation of the world in immediate surround. The keen observation of the above painting would prove this changed perspective.
Mughal Court Paintings provides us with invaluable information about the life and times of rulers of the period. The paintings also reflect the contemporary social and political condition of the people. Social customs and courtly customs as depicted in these paintings refer to the social hierarchy, too. In some of the paintings there are presence of foreign ambassadors. That depiction tells us that the Mughal rulers had active trade relations with other countries.
The Style of Painting used in these miniatures shows the technical advancement, particularly in the fine brushwork. One can see that in some of the paintings of this era, the compositions are less crowded and the colours used are more subdued. From examinations of the actors and characters seen within the frame we can observe that their movement is much less dynamic. In the plate given below, the painting represents an image on flat plane that results in a strong two-dimensional design. (Image courtesy By Unknown (Indian, Imperial Mughal ) (http://cybermuse.gallery.ca) [public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)
The period of three emperors of mughal dynasty is considered the golden period for the miniature paintings. These three Emperors were Akbar (reigned1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-27) and Shah Jahan (1628-58).
In the time of Akbar’s reign, the Mighal Miniature painting was the secular art, dealing with court life, durbar scenes and portraits of royal men and women. The have also painted natural subjects like birds, flowers, animals and forest scenes. However the assists’ preference was tilted towards depicting the hunting scenes and other daily life scenes of the kings and the princes. It was also customary for the Mughal Miniature painters to paint the flora and fauna and love scenes.
This painting depicts a shepherd girl, her name is Radha. From this painting we can see the Indian consumes and the lifestyle of the women during the seventeenth century, and the medieval period. [ Images courtesy: Shephard Girl Radha Courtesy by By Indischer Maler um 1650 (I) [public domain], from Wikimedia Commons . Radharani See page for author [public domain], from Wikimedia Commons and Portrait of the Mughal Empress Nur Jahan Wikimedia Commons ]