Art In 18th Century India

1763 Words8 Pages
A key point to the progression of the culture we know today and the amenities we have access to as a country stems from globalization of trade that was established before. A major event that tied Europe to Asia was the British occupation of India in the 18th Century and the establishment of the East India Company. Throughout mainstream history, the appearance and status of 18th Century India has been censored through British and European history – yet, upon closer examination of the works of art that were produced at the time, one can quite clearly see how the British wanted India to be presented and the steps taken to present it as so. The term “the Orient”, in standard definition, refers to “the East” or, better known today as, Asia. As…show more content…
Landscape paintings, or in this case “picturesque” landscape paintings, presents more so the impression of the land and establishments. An example of a “picturesque” landscape paintings, also known as Oriental scenery, is Thomas Daniell’s “View of Gaur: A Ruined Tomb.” Daniell created many paintings in a series to represent his impression of his travels in India. The concept of “picturesque” really comes to play when one is reminded that such artists did not paint the entire painting onsite. What is more likely is that the artist, in this case Daniell, would have sketched a general outline, possibly labelled some basic coloring, and would have completed the painting back home. Simply put, these paintings are not necessarily realistic renditions, but rather the impression of landscape that was scene – which was usually romanticized and thus becomes “picturesque.” The “View of Gaur” emits a very yellow, soft overtone for the overall painting. Despite the use of different colors to represent greenery or water, the entire piece is a warm yellow. Such a color choice could indicate a time of a sunset, but it could also just be an emphasis of the romantic tone of the landscape. Greenery is very apparent in the painting with the thickets of trees shown, as well as a natural spring in the center. A building structure is displayed towards the left, but it presented in ruin and being overcome with…show more content…
However, European artists started to create portraits of more and more Indians as British ties became stronger. Thomas Hickey made a portrait of “Purniya, Chief Minister of Mysore” in which the European influence can be obviously seen. Purniya is presented with a three-quarter profile, his hands holding a scroll, adorned with elegant clothing, and a ornate room presented in the background. Such a presentation of an Indian Minister shows a growing form of equality, or at least respect, from the British. Purniya is presented very appropriately for his status with the presentation of the three-quarter profile. An extreme attention to detail is also showed by Hickey as the clothing of Purniya is presented as quite elegant and elaborate. The symbolic items in Purniya’s hands is also a British trope as they would sometimes place items that relayed the portrait subjects’s occupation or family status. The background of the painting displays obvious European influence as a classical column architecture is shown. Right next to that structure, a statue of a female holding scales is presented this – a symbol or presentation usually associated with the Greek/Rman goddess of Justice. The incorporation of classical mythology shows the European influence that has come to India and especially in regards to the governmental structures. Another portrait to be examined would be Francis Renaldi’s “Muslim Lady Reclining.” This portrait has a less

More about Art In 18th Century India

Open Document