Rajput Painting

Rajput Painting

Rajput Painting

Rajput Painting

Excerpt

Large size has become commonplace in modern painting, particularly with the "action" painters. Frustration with the framed picture, "suitable for hanging," has been one of the driving forces behind the move to giantism. And yet, a few of the modern and recent old masters, Tobey, Wols and Klee for example, have achieved much in little space. Medieval European manuscript illuminations have reached new highs in auction prices; Old Master drawings, once plentiful, are now available to but a few. A still small voice whispers that perhaps a miniature scale can be a freedom granting one. The artist can reach a faithful audience, one at a time; and the looker must see and search. A glance is not enough.

It has always seemed strange that Rajput painting has not achieved a greater measure of recognition in the modern art world. These small pages are usually not painted in a carefully detailed, refined way--they are not in the tradition of such miniatures as those produced in Mughal India or Elizabethan England. They are bold in drawing, daring in color. Many of their pictorial devices anticipate those of modern masters such as Matisse, Picasso and Nolde. Rajput painters often combine images of exotic poetry with the fervor of Hindu music. But there has been little recognition of their art beyond their homeland. Coomaraswamy's pioneer book of 1916 has recently been joined by other significant publications. While the great collection he formed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is still the best in America, it has been surpassed by the recently developed collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A few museums and collectors in the United States have been active in the field and the present occasion seems a likely one for the inclusion of . . .

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