Postgraduate Diploma Course in South Asian Painting | Postgraduate Certificate Course in South Asian Painting

South Asian Painting

“Even when works are of a very small size, they convey a sense of monumentality.”—Daniel Ehnbom, video interview, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.

The South Asian painting course makes its way through a constellation of exquisite works on paper produced in northern India from the sixteenth century onwards. Ranging in size from a few inches to a few feet, the paintings are often mistakenly referred to as “miniatures.” Intimate yet monumental, quiet yet pulsating with life, worldly yet spiritual, these paintings have delighted viewers for centuries by allowing them a glimpse into a magical world. With their prices sky-rocketing, such works are the darlings of the art market, boosting the reputation of named and anonymous artists.

The course will introduce the key terms and concepts that are essential to an understanding of South Asian painting. It will provide an overview of the methods employed in the examination of such works, and discuss scholarship that has defined the field. The value attached to these paintings in previous centuries—they helped their patrons realize spiritual goals, visualize and sustain royal identity, and so on—and by the unpredictable demands of modern-day collectors, will be compared.

This will be accomplished while analyzing iconic examples of manuscripts, series, and stand-alone works on paper. The aim of the course is to help students learn how to look at South Asian painting, and to familiarize them with the approaches that may be employed in their study.


Image: Leaf number 13 from a dispersed series of the Bhagavata Purana. Krishna slaying the wind demon. Opaque color and gold on paper. Sub-Imperial Mughal style at Bikaner (?), Rajasthan, India, c. 1600 CE. Private Collection, USA.



We regret to inform you that the seminar series by Dr. Daniel Ehnbom, “Rajput Painting: Concepts and Realities" scheduled from Wednesday, March 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, & 16th, 2020 at Jnanapravaha, has been postponed due to the Pandemic Corona- virus travel limitations imposed by the US Center for Disease Control.


We will update you with the new dates when they are confirmed.


We apologize for any inconvenience caused.


The serious study of Rajput painting began in the early 20th century with the path breaking work of A K Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) but except for his scholarship it languished until the period after Independence. Then discovery followed discovery and scholars scrambled to establish order in this new visual world. Theories were proposed, promoted, and sometimes abandoned. Questions of the relationship of Rajput painting with Mughal painting were central to its understanding—was it part of a continuum with the Mughal style or was it oppositional? The course surveys the history of the study of Rajput painting and its implications for our understanding today of its many styles.


Day 1: 

Session I: Coomaraswamy’s “Main Stream” of Indian Painting and a Ground Level View of the 16th Century

Session II: “True Miniatures”, “Old Fangled Notions”, and The Search for Order in the Post-Independence Study of Indian Painting


Day 2: 

Session I: A History of Costume or a History of Painting?

How to look at the Pre-Rajput and Rajput Schools of the 16th and 17th Centuries

Session II: An Embarrassment of Riches: The Post-Independence Discoveries of Rajput Paintings and the Growth of Knowledge


Day 3: 

Session I: Simplicity of Narrative(s) in the 16th Century: “Rajput” (And Other) Painting and Embodiments of Stories

Session II: Complexity of Narrative(s) in the 16th Century: “Rajput” (And Other) Painting and Illustrations of Texts


Day 4: 

Session I: The “Main Stream” Continues: Overt and Covert Manifestations of CompositionalForms

Session II: The Paradox of the 18th Century: Things Fall Apart and Things Come Together--Political Multiplicity and Aesthetic Convergence


Day 5: 

Session I: A Final Flowering and a New Aesthetic Order: Patrons Old and New, Transformed Technologies and another Way of Seeing

Session II: The Market, the Collector, and the Museum: How the Marketplace Inflects “Knowledge”

6:30 - 8:30 PM


Rs. 4,000

Registrations Closed