Attributed to Sahib Ram
India (Rajasthan, Jaipur)
Cartoon for a mural depicting the Rasalila (Circle dance of Krishna and the gopis)
Ink and watercolors on paper; 27 1/4 x 18 1/2 in. (69.2 x 47 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1918 (18.85.2)
As it had been in the preceding century, painting in Amber/Jaipur during the eighteenth century continued to be heavily influenced by Mughal aesthetics, and many of the artists employed at the court were Muslims. (The state previously called Amber has been known as Jaipur ever since its new capital city of that name was founded in 1727 by Jai Singh II.) Comparatively few paintings from Jaipur are in Western collections because the royal collection, unlike those of many other Rajasthani courts, was never dispersed. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, who came to the throne in 1784, was a great patron of art whose atelier housed more than twenty artists. Perhaps the finest painter was Sahib Ram, a Muslim active at Jaipur through the second half of the eighteenth century. His masterpiece was a mural painting of Radha and Krishna dancing, for which this is a preparatory study. Murals had adorned Indian buildings beginning at least in the Mughal period, although most are now lost or inaccessible for viewing. This drawing, which was pricked, probably to allow its image to be transferred to the palace wall, is a reminder of an important category of Indian art.