Mughal Paintings

The great era of in the art of painting was ushered by the Mughals. the great painter Behzad. They came into contact with their counterparts in India and under Akbar the synthesis of two styles was encouraged. He gathered together a number of painters from Persia, Kashmir and Gujarat. The Ain-i-Akhbari mentions a number of artists-Abdus Samad, Mir Saiyid Ali, Miskin, Daswant, Basawan, Mukand and many others. They illustrated manuscripts like the Dastan-i-Amir Hamza and Babarnama. Individual pieces were also painted. By the end of Akbar's reign an independent Mughal style of painting had been developed. Jahangir was a poet and patron of painting. Under him the Mughal School of painting was fully developed and made remarkable progress.

The painting was no longer confined to book illumination. Portrait painting and depiction of subjects drawn from life and nature became popular. Some of the finest painters in this period were Nadir, Murad, Bishan Das, Manohar, Goverdhan, Mansur and Farrukh Beg. The competence and skill of the Indian artists are evident from the incident which Sir Thomas Roe who came to the court of Jahangir mentions. The artists of Jahangir's court made several copies of a painting which Roe had presented to the emperor on the same day. The copies were so perfect that Roe found it difficult to spot the original.

In the course of few decades fine works of paintings were created. The development continued under Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh son of Shah Jahan was a great patron of paintings. With Aurangzeb the art declined in the Mughal courts. With the withdrawal of court patronage many artists went to different parts of the country and influenced the development of new schools of painting. Two of the most important schools of painting that emerged were the Rajasthani and the Pahari schools. The subjects of the paintings of these schools were drawn from the epics, myths and legends and love themes.