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Empire and Erotica: Painting from the Courts of India
ARHA 386
Spring 2010 not offered

The history of Indian painting from the 16th through the 19th centuries is dominated by two distinct stylistic traditions, one flourishing at the court of the Mughal empire, the other at the courts of the various Rajput dynasties that held sway in regions beyond the central Mughal domain. Despite the complex historical relationships between the two traditions, modern scholarship has tended to emphasize instead their separate identities as distinct, isolable schools, with mutually opposing stylistic and aesthetic ideals. Mughal painting is characterized as ¿naturalistic,¿ ¿rational,¿ and ¿imperial¿ in its concerns, while contemporary Rajput work is seen as ¿spiritual,¿ ¿lyrical,¿ and ¿erotic¿ in approach.
In this course we will approach Mughal and Rajput painting by critically examining some of the fundamental assumptions and methods upon which modern historiography of these schools rests. We will deal with such issues as the relationship between painting and literature (many of the great masterpieces are manuscript illustrations), the structure of patronage and the degree of the patron¿s influence in shaping style, and the extent to which the Mughal style was influenced by sixteenth century European prints and paintings. One of our guiding purposes will be to come to terms with ¿Mughal¿ and ¿Rajput¿ as aesthetic categories. What is the real basis for this binary stylistic taxonomy? Does it rest on formal, stylistic qualities alone, or is it partially a function of differences in preferred subject matter? Or is it an inadequate and misleading oversimplification, a by-product of the Hindu-Muslim communal discourse of modern India?

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: None
Course Format: LectureGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: [ARHA286 or ARCP286] OR [ARHA285 or EAST285] OR [ARHA280 or MDST280]
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARST)

Last Updated on OCT-18-2021
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