• 11 Mar
    16 Mar

    South Asian Painting

    Daniel Ehnbom


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.

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: March 11, 2020

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: March 12, 2020

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: March 13, 2020

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: March 14, 2020

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: March 16, 2020

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”

Duration -

March 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 2020

Timing: 6:30 - 8:30 PM


Rs. 4,000 (For a 50% student discount, write to info@jp-india.org)

Daniel Ehnbom

Daniel Ehnbom

Daniel Ehnbom is an associate professor of art at the University of Virginia. His undergraduate education was at The University of Wisconsin and Delhi University, and he received his MA and PhD from The University of Chicago. He is the author of Indian Miniatures: The Ehrenfeld Collection (New York, Hudson Hills Press, 1985), articles on painting and Indian architecture, and contributions to various exhibition catalogues. He was with the Macmillan/Grove Dictionary of Art (London and New York, 1996) in London as a contributor and consultant from 1984 and as South Asia Area Editor for Painting and Sculpture from 1988. Other of his publications include “Visions of the Blue God: A Note on Composition (and Performance?) in BhāgavataPurāṇa Illustrations,” The Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 11, no. 2 (August 2018), Pages 107–115; Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century (Charlottesville: The Fralin Art Museum at The University of Virginia, 2014) with contributions by Krista Gulbransen; and the essay "Masters of the Dispersed Bhagavata Purana", in Milo C. Beach; Eberhard Fischer, B.N. Goswamy, eds, Masters of Indian Painting: 1100-1900 (Zürich: Artibus Asiae Publishers, Supplementum 48, I/II, 2011), volume 1, pp. 77-88.

Ehnbom teaches undergraduate survey lecture courses on Indian and Buddhist art, and upper level undergraduate lecture courses and undergraduate and graduate seminars in specialized topics including 16th-century Indian painting and early Indian sculpture and architecture. He is adjunct curator of South Asian art at the University of Virginia Art Museum, and recently stepped down as a long time Director of the UVA South Asia Center. He has held fellowships from Fulbright, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Weedon Foundation. In 2018 Trinity Term he was a fellow at The Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford. He has traveled extensively in Asia, and has lived for extended periods in India and Pakistan.