Indian Painting: Themes, Histories, Interpretations is a tribute to the scholarship of the distinguished art historian B. N. Goswamy, whose critical influence opened up new ways of thinking about Indian painting. Forty major scholars from South Asia, America, Australia and Europe write in his honour, about pictures from a large geographical area and huge chronological span—from Ajanta to present times. In their work, Indian Painting showcases leading trends and new research initiatives, ultimately inspired by B. N. Goswamy’s thinking. These authors break new ground and chart new paths. They also bring to attention a number of previously unpublished visual materials, adding a refreshing dimension to the already vibrant study of Indian painting.
Even as this volume coheres around the intellectual innovations of one man, it celebrates the diversity of South Asia’s traditions and history. The essays move from redecoration of Ajanta caves, to European and Persian connections with Mughal painting; from the tradition of itinerant painters, to diffusion, innovation and transformation in Rajput and Pahari painting, as well as exchanges with the Deccan. Reviewing religious themes, there are explorations of the Jain manuscript tradition and Ramayana leaves, of the Pichhvais of Nathdwara, and of the scrolls from Odisha; the mythological tones associated with Krisnaites, the Sufis, cults of Yoginis, Nath Saivite traditions; and hybrid images in the more recent political culture. We see these themes explored in many forms of painting, among them the Chandayana of early Mughals; landscaping and ancestral images; European portraits and jharokha; Christian themes in Mughal painting; the mural paintings of Multan, Panjab and Rajasthan; Kerala narrative paintings, and the mica paintings from Trichinopoly. Modern themes are explored, be it a shift in contemporary miniatures in Pakistan or the biographical explorations of Bhupen Khakhar and Zarina Hashmi, the artistic “chronicles” of German travellers, the “poetic encroachment” of art in musical Ragamala series, the nuances of painting in folklore, or how our museum “pinnings” impact our ways of seeing.
In its expanse and themes, fresh material and insights, Indian Painting will delight researchers and students alike.
F. S. Aijazuddin, Amit Ambalal, Milo Cleveland Beach, Susan S. Bean, Usha Bhatia, Rosemary Crill, Anna L. Dallapiccola, Asok Kumar Das, Harsha V. Dehejia, Devangana Desai, Debra Diamond, Saryu Doshi, Eberhard Fischer, Salima Hashmi, Mary Beth Heston, Jutta Jain-Neubauer, Padma Kaimal, Kanwarjit Singh Kang, Geeta Kapur, Nadhra Shahbaz Khan, Kalyan Krishna, J. P. Losty, Tryna Lyons, Darielle Mason, Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzker, Jagdish Mittal, Kirin Narayan, Aman Nath, Subhash Parihar, Ratan Parimoo, Dinanath Pathy, Sonya Rhie Quintanilla, Preeti Bahadur Ramaswami, Mahesh Sharma, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Kavita Singh, Walter M. Spink, Susan Stronge, Kay Talwar, Philippa Vaughan, Franz-Josef Vollmer, and Virginia Whiles.