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Majnun in the Wilderness: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Islam entered India in the twelfth century, and by the early sixteenth century book illustration was practiced in parts of India under or close to Muslim rule. Akbar (1542-1605), the third Timurid emperor of India, brought artist to his studio from throughout northern India and the Middle East. Under the supervision of two Persian masters, Mir Sayyid Ali and Abd as Samad, these artists developed a painting style that, though rooted in Safavid tradition, eventually became Indianized.

This finely finished court painting, datable to the reign of Akbar, illustrates a scene from the Khamsa, or Five Poems, by the Persian poet Nizami. The nearly drowned hero, Majnun, has been rescued by various animals and is being revived. This excellent example of early Mughal court painting combines much of the bird's-eye perspective and detailed finesse of the imported Safavid Persian miniature tradition with the softer, more volumetric forms, naturalistic colors, and random spatial organization preferred by Indian court painters.

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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 11, 2009