As one of the finest holdings of Indian art in the West, the Kronos Collections are particularly distinguished for paintings made between the sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries for the Indian royal courts in Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills. These outstanding works, many of which are published and illustrated here for the first time, are characterized by their brilliant colors and vivid, powerful depictions of scenes from Hindu epics, mystical legends, and courtly life. They also present a new way of seeking the divine through a form of personal devotion—known as bhakti—that had permeated India’s Hindu community. While explaining the gods, demons, lovers, fantastical creatures, and mystical symbols that are central to literature and worship, this publication celebrates the diverse styles and traditions of Indian painting.
Divine Pleasures features an informative entry for each work and two essays by scholar Terence McInerney that together outline the history of Indian painting and the Rajput courts, providing fresh insights and interpretations. Also included are a personal essay by expert and collector Steven M. Kossak and an examination of Hindu epic and myth in Mughal painting, which lays important foundations for Rajput painting, by curator Navina Najat Haidar. Through their research and observations, the authors deepen our understanding and underscore the significance of Indian painting. Divine Pleasures presents a nuanced view of a way of life intimately tied to the seasons, the arts, and the divine.