HOUSTON, TEXAS.- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents Royal Portraits: Marwar Painting from the Royal Collection of the Mehrangarh Museum, Jodhpur, India through January 2, 2005 at the Audrey Jones Beck Building. Jodhpur, A Young Man on a Prancing Horse, c. 1830 The 18th century was the most artistically productive period in Marwar´s history. The painting styles ranged from classic Mughal-influenced court assemblies to powerful images of local nobility.
Offered by His Highness The Mahajara Gaj Singh II, Royal Portraits is a special exhibition of Marwar painting from the Royal collection of the Mehrangarh Museum in Jodhpur, India. The Mehrangarh Museum´s collection of paintings from the Marwar school is one of the largest and finest in the world.
Marwar is the ancient name for the large area of western Rajasthan, India. The ruling clan of the Marwar called the Rathor Rajputs began their rule in the mid-13th century. Jodhpur became the capital in 1459 when one of the royal grandsons laid the foundations for the Mehrangarh Fort. The arrival of the Mughals from the north in the 16th century, however, transformed the imperial culture of the Rathor Rajputs. Close marriage ties to the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) secured influential and powerful positions at the Mughal court for a succession of Rathor rajas.
The production of illustrated histories of Akbar´s reign was a major function of the Mughal painting studio. The Mughal painters recorded historic events and daily court life. The arrival of European works of art at the imperial court greatly influenced the art of portraiture. Marwar artists combined the Mughal painting tradition of recording rulers, nobles and court life with distinctive local styles and bold colors.