Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

View of a Mosque and Gateway at Motijhil

Attributed to Sita Ram (active 1814–23)
Object Name:
Illustrated single work
ca. 1814–23
India, Bengal
Colonial British
Opaque watercolor on paper
Painting: H. 13 in. (33 cm) W. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm) Mat (Standard size B): H. 16 in. (40.6 cm) W. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2002
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 464
The subject of this painting is the Sang-i Dalan palace complex at Motijhil, built in 1743. The artist was probably Sita Ram, an accomplished Bengali painter who accompanied Francis Rawdon (later first marquess of Hastings; governor-general of Bengal) on his tours of northern India between 1814 and 1823. Like the other works made for Hastings, this painting no doubt captures what the traveling party saw, but the painting evokes a timeless mood rather than a fleeting moment from a trip—an impression that is further emphasized by the artist’s decision to depict the Motijhil site from behind, excluding the main palace and emphasizing the remaining buildings’ state of decay.
Probably Francis Rawdon, 2nd Earl of Moira, later 1st Marquess of Hastings, governor-general of Bengal; Private collection, England; William K. Ehrenfeld, San Francisco (in 1998); [ Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch Ltd., until 2002; sold to MMA]
Bautze, Joachim K. Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western painting, 1780–1910: The Ehrenfeld Collection. Alexandria, VA: Art Services International, 1998. no. 82, pp. 308-309, ill., pl. 82 and front cover.

Topsfield, Andrew, ed. "Arts of India." In In the Realm of Gods and Kings. London; New York: Philip Wilson Publishers, 2004. no. 88, pp. 218–219, ill. (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 286, pp. 342, 401-402, ill. p. 401 (color).

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