Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Garden and Cosmos - The Royal Paintings of Jaipur
Just saw Garden and Cosmos - The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. it's amazing. If you can get to Seattle, go see it. Images above from the web.
The paintings were meant to be seen from a low angle, as the royalty was seated on cushions on the floor. From that low view point, all the gold and silver paint comes alive with sparkle and shine. The detail is so fine that magnifying glasses are supplied in the gallery so you can appreciate it. (Bring your own magnifying glass if you can so you don't have to share.)
Viewing the work becomes this dance of approach the painting, genuflect, then hold up the magnifying glass and zoom it in and out on any section that catches you eye. All sections will catch your eye. By the last gallery, which features painting of enlightened beings floating in the void between the worlds, I felt as if the top of my head was floating away. I can still feel the intense colors, salmon, pink, mint green, lavender grey and a hundred shades of green. Pattern on top of pattern, painted with the tiniest brush in the world.
The Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian says : This groundbreaking exhibition of newly discovered Indian paintings from the royal court collection of Marwar-Jodhpur (in the modern state of Rajasthan) has three sections devoted to the garden and cosmos leitmotifs, with an introductory gallery about the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur and the origins of its court painting traditions in the 17th century. Produced for the private enjoyment of the Marwar- Jodhpur maharajas, virtually none of the 60 works on view in "Garden and Cosmos" have ever been published or seen by scholars since their creation centuries ago. Strikingly innovative in their large scale, subject matter, and styles, they reveal both the conceptual sophistication of the royal atelier and the kingdom's engagement with the changing political landscapes of early modern India.