Miniature Indian Portrait of a Woman Painted on Bone

c. 1850
$1,880 USD
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W: 5.75" D: 0.75" H: 7.0"
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An example of India’s Company School, this small mid-19th century painting represents the melding of Mughal miniature tradition with Western styles as the British East India Company extended its influence into the subcontinent. Responding to the influx of foreigners, artists offered up images of the lavish lifestyle of the imperial court with an eye toward contemporary Western tastes.

Painted on bone with water-based pigments, a medium unique to Delhi artists, this portrait depicts a woman en déshabillé in her private quarters. Although such erotically charged paintings exist in the repertoire of traditional Mughal miniatures, this 19th-century version is devoid of any courtly narrative context. Rather, the high-keyed colors and naturalistic facial features mark it as the hybridized style that emerged during this fascinating transitional period in Indian art history.

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