The History of Indian Mughal Miniature Painting

Part - 6

 At the age of 87, the emperor Aurangzeb expired. The second son of the emperor named Bahadur Shah got the throne. But when Bahadur Shah died in 1712, his nephew Farrukhsiyar seized hold of the throne by debarring the son of Bahadur Shah, known as Jahandar. From 1713 to 1719, Farrukhsiyar was the emperor of the Mughal kingdom; but during that short time, no development or improvement occurred in the Mughal miniature painting. Nevertheless, we found some portraits of Farrukhsiyar, which means the attentiveness in painting had been reverted again to the emperor. But it was not so significant. Here is a portrait of Farrukhsiyar, - 

Emperor Farrukhsiyar

 In 1719, when Farrukhsiyar lost his throne, and the Mughal kingdom had some dilemma for few times, Muhammad Shah got the throne as the next emperor. In the reign of Muhammad Shah, Mughal miniature painting revived somewhat once again. Although the royal studio got shorter, the Mughal royal trait in miniature painting reverted again. But the misery never left behind. In 1735, Nadir Shah attacked India and conquered Delhi; robbed precious paintings, illustrated manuscripts, Mayur (Peacock) Throne, invaluable ornaments, and a lot. It caused the interruption in painting again. 


 Nevertheless, a few more paintings exist to demonstrate the glorious part of the Mughal culture. One of those was an album titled Karnama-e-Ishq containing 37 pieces of miniature paintings painted by Govardhan. Later, it was included in the Jonson collection. Probably, at that time, Govardhan was the leader of the royal studio, and in his supervision, some miniature paintings had been composed. 

In 1724, Muhammad Shah appointed Saadat Khan as a governor of Ayodhya, and from that time, the supremacy of the Mughal Emperor got decreased, and the influence of Nawab extended. But still, the royal fashion of portrait painting was ongoing. and some famous painters were working in the royal studio. One of those was Roy Anup as a leading figure. Others were Thakur Rao Gaj singh, Chitraman etc.

Example of 18th century miniature in provincial Mughal style of Bengal.

 After the death of Muhammad Shah in 1748, the appointment of new artists in the royal court was being stopped. At this time, most artists were spread elsewhere out of Delhi to carry out their occupation. In the meantime, some great artists of the royal court got jobs and went away to Faizabad, Lucknow, and Ayodhya. From a resource, I got a historical incident where a letter sent an envoy of Maratha to the royal court of Delhi requested finding artists who will be able to paint some Hindu deity. The Mughal envoy replied, 'no good Hindu artists are here in Delhi now. Poor condition, unavailability of work, caused artists to be left away from Delhi. You can find artists in Lucknow or any other locations.'  Such an incident proves that miniature paintings, which were claimed as Delhi Kalam composed in the period of 1748 to 1806, were actually made elsewhere outside from the Delhi royal Mughal court. Therefore, those are not the real Delhi-Kalam. We could find some portraits, landscapes, and illustrations during the said time, and those are indeed wonderful. Versatility in subject matter is the main noticeable thing of this era. It indicates that the artists of that era were engaged to satisfy their appreciators by providing several demands that came whimsically. Here is a demonstration of the 18th century provincial Mughal miniature style of Bengal proves the same historical incident widely.  You can understand the difference between the Delhi Kalam and provincial Mughal style.

 A very few royal artists of the emperor second Akbar Shah and second Bahadur Shah had been continuing in the royal court from 1806 to 1858, but the paintings of a very few number were composed. It explicitly indicates the lack of appreciation and after the death of the second Bahadur shah, it stopped permanently. 




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Last updated on - 07.02.2024