Image (painting): 16 3/4 x 22 3/4 in. (42.5 x 57.8 cm)
Sheet: 19 x 24 7/8 in. (48.3 x 63.2 cm)
Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2001
Not on view
The artist Tara, who worked primarily during the reign of Sarup Singh (r. 1842–61), maharana of Mewar, often employed formal perspectival devices to bring structure to his large-scale paintings. In this grand picture of a tented camp, we see the maharana being presented with a prize stallion, perhaps a gift to mark his birthday. The inscription on the reverse refers to the horse by name but makes no reference to the event being celebrated. The ruler and his courtiers, along with a troupe of female singers and dancers with musicians, all wear pink dress—even the attendants have donned pink turbans, and the stallion and hunting dog pink blankets—a curious feature that must reflect this special but unidentified occasion. Tara’s work stands at the threshold between late Indian painting traditions and early experiments in photography. Both of his two sons trained under him as painters, and the younger, Mohanlal, became a well-known photographer in the 1870s.
Inscription: On the reverse, a partly damaged thirteen-line devanagari inscription identifying the ruler, horse and other figures (ending...kalami cataro taro / chha 1902 pos vid 5...)
Possibly the Mewar Royal Collection , Mewar, India (possibly sold ca. 1970s) ; [Sale, Sotheby's, New York , March 20th, 2001, lot 2, to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Pursuits at the Hindu Courts," 2002–2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painting at Mewar," May 17, 2004–October 5, 2004.
New York. Asia Society. "In the Realm of Gods and Kings: Arts of India, Selections from the Polsky Collections and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 14, 2004–December 10, 2004.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painting at Mewar," July 10, 2007–November 19, 2007.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "1100–1900: The 40 Greatest Masters of Indian Painting," May 1, 2011–August 21, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India, 1100–1900," September 26, 2011–January 8, 2012.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Hindu Court Painting," July 17, 2013–September 8, 2013.