Miniature painting, like many other great arts, was brought
to India by the Mughals with the valuable assistance of the Persians. Of
all the art forms in the Mughal period, miniature paintings are
painstakingly painted creations that depict the events and life style of
the Mughals in their magnificent palaces.
Other paintings include portraits or studies of wildlife and plants. This art is still alive and popular in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. These miniature paintings are every connoiseur's delight.
The Themes And The Inspiration
Inspired by the royal and romantic lives of the Mughals, these paintings show one moment at a time, in minute details. The court artists, who actually watched the royalty, to capture the moments on canvas instead of stretching their imagination, made the Mughal Paintings.
The love scenes, the court scenes, various solitary women, animals, flowers, all were closely observed and reproduced simultaneously. The floral paintings can be easily matched with the carving on the monuments of the glorious Mughal era.
The History Of Mughal Miniatures
The origin of Mughal miniatures dates back to the reign of Humayun, who developed a taste for the exquisitely painted Iranian miniatures.
Akbar inherited his father's aristic leanings and the amalgamation of the traditional Indian art with Iranian art became evident. The Mughal miniatures of this period have a strong and clearly expressed narrative content, unlike the Iranian miniatures, which are more philosophical in nature. The brilliantly illustrated paintings glow as if illuminated from inside.
In Jehangir's reign, the refinement of this art took place with the miniatures becoming smaller in scale and lighter in palette. Paintings from this period are lyrical in style and often depict animals, birds, trees, flowers and portraits with great fidelity to the subject, without losing any of the artistic flow of the earlier age.
The art flourished during the period of Shahjahan also but by the end of Aurangzeb's rule, the Western influence became quite dominant and the Mughal miniatures of this period are, in no way, a comparison to the elegance of the preceding periods.
A Peculiar Mughal Miniature
A typical miniature has a phrase or poetry written on the upper or the lower end. They are essentially written in Urdu script. The decorative look of the script merges into the paintings as a part of it rather than a piece of poetry or phrase.
A Collector's Pride
Many of these paintings are just preserved by the art lovers as antiques. They are seldom seen framed on the walls. They are preserved very carefully and they are always objects of pride for an art collector.
In modern times, many reprints or reproduction of the originals are used for giving the interior, a special grace. They are used on bed linens, furniture like chairs, tables or cupboards and wall hangings.