Monday, January 12, 2015

Paintings from Mughal India - Andrew Topsfield

One of the great kingdoms of human history, the Mughal Empire is now lost to the relentless sweep of time. 
But the wealth of treasures left behind offers a lasting testament to the sumptuousness of its culture. 
Among the most notable of these treasures are the lush miniature paintings showing the splendor of Mughal imperial life.
Andrew Topsfield examines these paintings that bear the influence of Indian, Islamic, and Persian styles and portray a variety of subjects, from hunting, royal banquets, and other scenes of imperial life to legends, battles, and mythic deities. 
Among the paintings featured in the book’s vibrant reproductions are illustrations from the celebrated Baharistan manuscript of 1595 and works created between the reign of Akbar and the fall of Shah Jahan in 1658—an era considered to be the height of Mughal art.
A fascinating and gorgeously illustrated study, Paintings from Mughal India will be an invaluable resource for all art scholars and anyone interested in the legacy of the Mughal Empire.

A unique style of court painting, combining Persian, Indian and European elements, developed in India under the Mughal emperors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Originally an art of book illustration, it soon gave rise to highly naturalistic portraiture and scenes of court life, among other subjects. 
These elegant and expressive works reflect the splendour of the Mughal empire, as well as the enthusiasm of the emperors from Akbar (1556-1605) onwards for stories of adventure and romance, for the recording of great imperial assemblies, or the meticulous depiction of the flora and fauna of India. 
Among the highlights of the book are the illustrations to Akbar's magnificent Baharistan manuscript of 1595, and the court scenes from the reigns of Shah Jahan (1627-58) or the pleasure-loving Muhammad Shah (1719-48).
This book reproduces many of the finest Mughal and Deccani paintings preserved in the Bodleian Library's rich and historic collection, largely formed between 1640 and 1900. 

These pictures range in date from around 1560 to 1800, when British influence was becoming dominant in India.
Each image is presented as a full page colour plate with facing text describing its subject and significance, while the introduction situates the works within the general context of the period and its art.
[Source: As described in the book cover]

Goodreads Rating - 4.0 out of 5 (4 Ratings)

My Review:
A great sampling of Mughal Paintings. The texts accompanying the paintings were also very informative.
A book for every art lover !

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