“Gems of Rajput Painting”

Medha Kapur of Saffronart shares a note on ‘Gems of Rajput Painting’, an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Boston: Boston’s MFA recently opened two new galleries dedicated to the Art of Asia, spanning close to 4,000 years of cultural production. The first, its new Asian Paintings Gallery, showcases the rich painting traditions of India, Korea and Persia in rotating exhibits. The second, its South Asian and Southeast Asian Sculpture Gallery, celebrates rare sculptural works from India and its neighbouring countries.

‘Gems of Rajput Painting’, which opened in December last year and runs till September 3, 2012, features the MFA’s superb collection of paintings made for the princes of Rajasthan and the Punjab hills (commonly known as Rajputs). The kingdoms of these art-loving princes shared a common elite culture centered on Hindu worship, Sanskrit poetry, and the fierce pride of warrior clans. This inaugural exhibition showcases 35 paintings and manuscript illustrations, dating from the 12th to 21st centuries. These paintings are divided into four main themes: romance, devotion, heroism, and courtly life. Hindu gods also figure prominently in Rajput paintings as symbols of spiritual purity.

"Gems of Rajput Painting" | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

"Gems of Rajput Painting" | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Krishna Celebrates Holi with Radha and the Gopis, Nihal Chand, about 1750–60; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Keith McLeod Fund Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

"Gems of Rajput Painting" | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

From Gems of Rajput Painting, nine sons of a sage worship fierce god Rudra, who despite the weaponry, is in meditation.

Rajput paintings were usually painted on paper in watercolour, often brightly hued with gold accents.

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