SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Crisis, Court, Company: Painting and Visual culture in Anglo-Mughal Delhi

Yuthika Sharma (Columbia University, New York)

Date: 25 January 2012Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 25 January 2012Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B111

Type of Event: Seminar

As the home of later Mughals and a key diplomatic outpost of the British East India Company, Delhi was the unique site where Mughal and British tastes coincided. Late Mughal artistic culture has often been cast in terms of a crisis of style - as an art historical corollary to the political weakening of the Mughal State in the eighteenth-century. This talk will consider the role of artistic agency in negotiating the predicament of style and composition. Through a selective overview of artistic practice in the late Mughal circuit, I will focus on the work of the painter Ghulam Ali Khan (fl.1827), who worked for the Mughal court, British East India Company officers, and regional rulers in the Delhi suburbs. I will discuss how the painter’s experiments with different stylistic conventions and diverse subject matter - topographical painting, formal portraiture, and genre scenes – were part of the broader re-visioning of Delhi’s artistic culture, and of Mughal and Company Painting, into the artistic mainstream. Finally, I will raise questions about the present historiography of this period in South Asian art history.

Organiser: Crispin Branfoot

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