Courtly Pleasures

Indian Miniature Paintings from the Permanent Collection

September 9 – December 31, 2016
Courtly Pleasures showcases over 30 Indian miniature paintings from MAG’s permanent collection. These works date from the early 16th to the late 19th centuries, a period of history in which the arts flourished under the patronage of India’s many royal courts. Painted on paper with opaque watercolor and enhanced with silver and gold, they were produced by artists in a suratkhana, a local court workshop dedicated specifically to the production, upkeep, and collection of paintings.

The subject matter of these exquisite works draws from a diversity of sources, and emphasizes all aspects of human and divine nature. Many speak to the religious traditions of the Hindu and Jain faiths. Some paintings are richly narrative, drawn from well-known literary sources or sacred texts; others focus on the spiritual or are purely devotional in nature. A substantial number of paintings have as their source the allegorical depiction of musical modes, called ragas and raginis, in which the search for the spiritual manifests as the search for romantic love; still others are portraits or depict life at court.

Indian Miniatures

Above: Krishna, Radha, and a Gopi, Indian, 1800s. Ink and color on paper and Vishnu with His Consorts Bhudevi and Sridevi, Indian, Tanjore school, 1825-1850. Ink, color, gold paint, and gold leaf on paper with metal lamellae.

Sponsored by the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery. Conservation treatment was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Gallery Council