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On the basis of technique, Indian painting forms a continuum from the beginning of the first millennium down to the mid-nineteenth century: an outline in ink filled with flat, opaque colors which are burnished between each layer to give them opacity. In its media, its subject matter, regional variation, range of patronage, and artistic virtuosity, it displays startling diversity. From the northern Himalayan hills to Mysore in the south, artists, often working in family workshops for royalty, priests and wealthy merchants, have adorned caves and temples, illustrated books, and created lavish albums with themes ranging from the sacred to the secular. The study of Indian painting itself is a vast, evolving body of literature that continues to oscillate between discussions of artistic style and a concentration on content and context.
The aim of this seminar is twofold: to outline the development of Indian painting historically; and to understand the political, social and religious circumstances that produced some of the greatest masterworks in Indian art. How was Indian painting used? Who were the patrons? How does the art form reflect the particular cultural values of its time? As an analytic framework, the seminar will consider Indian miniature painting both in light of primary literary sources as well as through current scholarship.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Class participation. Short weekly responses. Final 15- to 20-page paper to be developed with the instructor throughout the semester.
none, open to all students
graduate students, undergraduate art majors
Students will submit short written assignments weekly. They will also be required to submit a final paper which they will develop throughout the semester. Students will receive comments and suggestions from the instructor on their writing skills.