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Wonder of the Age

The exhibition is made possible by MetLife Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Novartis Corporation.

The exhibition was organized by the Museum Rietberg Zurich in collaboration with
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Exhibition objects

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"Wonder of the Age": Master Painters of India, 1100-1900

Program information

In conjunction with the exhibition "Wonder of the Age": Master Painters of India, 1100–1900, on view September 28, 2011, through January 8, 2012, this Sunday at the Met program recorded on October 2, 2011, features three lectures:

"Mughal Painting at Its Zenith: The Life and Times of the Emperor Shah Jahan"
Oliver Everett, Librarian Emeritus, Royal Library, Windsor Castle

"Mughal Painting and Rajput Patrons: Early Painting at Bundi and Kota"
Milo C. Beach, Former Director, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Introduction to A Journey through the Paintings of Nainsukh (2011)
Professor B. N. Goswamy, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Panjab University, Chandigarh

Wonder of the Age

Master Painters of India, 1100–1900

September 28, 2011–January 8, 2012

Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide

Indian paintings have traditionally been classified according to regional styles or dynastic periods, with an emphasis on subject matter and narrative content. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to securely link innovations in style with specific artists and their lineages. Together with a careful study of artist's inscriptions and scribal colophons, it is now possible to construct a more precise chronology of the development of Indian painting.

This major loan exhibition is devoted to the connoisseurship of Indian painting, with some 220 works selected according to identifiable hands and named artists. The exhibition dispels the notion of anonymity in Indian art. The high points of artistic innovation in the history of Indian painting are demonstrated through works by forty of the greatest Indian painters, some of whom are identified for the first time. Each artist is represented in the exhibition by five to six seminal works.

Structured chronologically, the exhibition features the artistic achievement of individual artists in each period. Highlights include: A Sufi Sage, after the European personification of melancholia, Dolor by Farrukh Beg, an extraordinary painting representing the last chapter of the artist's long career (1615, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha); Peafowl attributed to Mansur, a master of observation of the natural world (ca. 1610, private collection); Jahangir receives Prince Khurram at Ajmer on his return from the Mewar campaign: page from the Windsor Padshahnama by Balchand, a master of composition (ca. 1635, Royal Collection, Royal Library, Windsor); Shiva and Parvati Playing Chaupad by Pahari, a superb painting with intense saturated color, bold but sparse composition, and stylized landscape, depicting the divine couple relaxing on a tiger skin playing chaupad, a form of chess (1694–95), Metropolitan Museum); and Emperor Muhammad Shah with Falcon Viewing his Garden at Sunset from a Palanquin attributed to Chitarman II (ca. 1730, Boston Museum of Fine Arts).