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Exhibitions/ Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India

Seeing the Divine: Pahari Painting of North India

At The Met Fifth Avenue
December 22, 2018–July 28, 2019

Exhibition Overview

Focusing on early painting styles that emerged in the regional courts of the Punjab hills of North India during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this exhibition examines innovative ways of depicting the Hindu gods. By juxtaposing devotional images with emotionally charged narrative moments, the paintings provided fresh means for royal patrons to forge a personal connection to the divine through devotion (bhakti). Highlights include an early nineteenth-century temple banner that has never been shown publicly.

"Staggering colors and hallucinatory visions" —The New York Times

"Eye-popping. . . . striking. . . . elicit[s] . . . admiration" —The Wall Street Journal

The exhibition is made possible by The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects


Kurt Behrendt a Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Enjoy a Facebook video of "Evoking the Gods: Indian Painting of the Pahari Hills," a talk by exhibition curator Kurt Behrendt in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (March 27, 2018)

From the Blogs

A man in a white robe with a black beard gazes at Krishna and Radha seated on a golden seat beneath an orange canopy

Exhibition curator Kurt Behrendt shows how the Pahari painters developed an artistic technique to make the Hindu gods appear before the eyes of their patrons.

Promo for blog post

Read about the unusual creative process of the Pahari painters in "Layers of Memory," a blog post on Now at The Met.

Detail from the Bhadrakali painting

In this Now at The Met article, exhibition curator Kurt Behrendt shares insights into a bold seventeenth-century painting of Bhadrakali, a benevolent tantric divinity.

Attributed to the Master of the Early Rasamanjari. Devi, in the form of Bhadrakali, ca. 1660–70. Folio from a dispersed "Tantric Devi" series. India, Punjab Hills, kingdom of Basohli. Opaque watercolor, gold, silver, and beetle-wing cases on paper, 7 x 6 9/16 in. (17.8 x 16.7 cm). Promised Gift of Steven Kossak, The Kronos Collections, 2015