|Wonder of the Age – Master Painters of India, 1100–1900. This is the name of the exhibition about the story of India’s greatest painters, on display from the 28th of September 2011 to the 8th of January 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
This major loan exhibition is devoted to the lovers of Indian painting, with some 220 works of 40 of the greatest Indian painters. Each artist will be represented in the exhibition by five to six seminal works. Last week’s issue of The Economist published an article about this exhibition and some photos of the paintings.
Indian painting has a very long history despite the seasonally humid Indian climate making it difficult for the long-term preservation of paintings. Indeed there are far fewer survivals of other forms of Indian art.
Indian paintings can be broadly classified as murals and miniatures. Murals are large works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple. Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale for books or albums on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal were the pioneers of miniature painting in India.
Many works in the exhibition are small and exquisite, made to be held in the hand and admired at leisure. But some are as large as two-and-a-half by five feet. A 17th-century miniature of the Persian-trained Farrukh Beg as an old man is one of only a handful of self-portraits from theMughal period and is consequently very valuable. Mughal painting represented a fusion of the Persian miniature with older Indian traditions and from the 17th century its form was adopted across Indian princely courts of all religions, where each developed a local style.
The paintings come from the Met’s own collection and the Rietberg Museum (link: http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/kultur/en/index/institutionen/museum_rietberg.html) in Zurich (where the show originated), as well as from a number of other public and private collections. 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, started the hard task of identifying individual painters.
Preserving and promoting art preserves and promotes the culture and the traditions related to it: this is also the aim of preserving languages (link: http://www.santranslate.com/languages/).
Image link: http://www.google.co.uk/imgre