History of Miniature Paintings July 25 2021


In the run up to the launch of our new collection, The Miniaturist, let's look at the history of Miniature paintings in India, in brief:

The tradition of miniature paintings can be traced back to the Mughals some 460 years ago. During the reign of Akbar (1560 A.D.), a large number of Indian artists from all over India were recruited to work under the Persian masters, who were brought to India by his father, Humayun. Marked by supple naturalism based on close observation of nature and fine, delicate drawing, the 'Mughal style', thus, evolved as a result of a beautiful synthesis of the indigenous Indian style of painting and the Safavid school of Persian painting.

Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal

Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Floral Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Floral

However, unlike Mughal painting which was primarily aristocratic and secular, the art of painting in Central India, Rajasthani, and the Pahari region, etc., at the time, was deeply rooted in the Indian traditions- taking inspiration from Indian epics, religious texts like the Puranas, folk-lore, love poems, and musical themes.


Indian Miniature Paintings Rajput Indian Miniature Paintings Rajput Radha Lady on a swing

Indian Miniature Paintings Rajput Krishna and Radha Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Rajput

As the Rajput rulers of these areas entered into political and matrimonial alliances with the Mughals, smaller artists from Mughal courts started migrating and found employment at these local courts- carrying with them the popular version of the Mughal style and influencing the existing styles of paintings there. The result was distinct regional styles, incorporating elements of Hindu, Persian, and European influences. Many important painting schools came into being and flourished in different parts of the region, in the 17th and 18th centuries, broadly divided as Mughal, Rajput/Rajasthan (Malwa, Mewar, Bundi- Kotah, Amber­-Jaipur, Bikaner, Marwar, and Kishangarh), and Deccan schools.


Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Rajput Indian Miniature Paintings Mughal Rajput