A group show of miniature paintings by Padmashree Shakir Ali & Babulal Marotia

A group show of miniature paintings by Padmashree Shakir Ali & Babulal Marotia


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About The Event

Art Heritage Gallery brings the exclusive and oldest art form of miniature paintings to the capital in a group show by Padmashree Shakir Ali and Babulal Marotia.


The origin of the Mughal School of miniature painting is considered to be a landmark in the history of painting in India. With the establishment of the Mughal Empire, the Mughal School originated in the reign of Akbar in 1560 A.D., an emperor who was keenly interested in art and architecture. On ascending the throne he established ateliers under the supervision of two Persian masters, Mir Sayyed Ali and Abdul Samad Khan. The Mughal style was a happy synthesis of the indigenous Indian style of painting and the Safavid School of Persian painting. It was marked by supple naturalism based on a close observation of nature and fine and delicate drawing of a high aesthetic order. The Mughal style was further influenced by European painting, absorbing some of the Western techniques of shading and perspective.


The eighteenth and nineteenth century in India witnessed a new genre of painting popularly known as the ‘Company School’. It was so named because it emerged primarily under the patronage of the British East India Company. The officials of the Company were interested in paintings that could capture the “picturesque” and the “exotic” aspects of the land, besides recording the variety in the Indian way of life which they encountered. Indian artists of that time, with declining traditional patronage, fulfilled the growing demand for paintings of flora and fauna, landscapes, historical monuments, durbar scenes, images of native rulers, trades and occupations, festivals, ceremonies, dance, music as well as portraits.

The Company School painting display an amalgam of naturalistic representation and the lingering nostalgia for the intimacy and stylization of medieval Indian miniatures. It is this intermingling that makes the Company School so unique even though the paintings neither had the accuracy of the photograph nor the freedom of the miniatures. The artists of this school modified their technique to cater to the British taste for academic realism that required the incorporation of Western academic principles of art such as a close representation of visual reality, perspective, volume and shading. The artists also changed their medium and now began to paint with watercolor (instead of gouache) and also used pencil or sepia wash on European paper.

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