Raghogarh Paintings (National Museum Collection)
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Raghogarh Paintings (National Museum Collection)

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Item Code: NAK686
Author: PC Jain
Publisher: National Museum, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 8185832323
Pages: 202 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 12.0 inch x 9.0 inch
Weight 1.20 kg

About the Book


Raghogarh Paintings’, a study of the stylistic distinction of the miniature from Raghogarh, a former princely state in Central India, in the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi, is a pioneer work exploring ever first a little known art style. A study on pure academic lines and unlike most other similar studies that focus more on the political history of the state patronizing an art activity rather than the painting style’s distinction the ‘Raghogarh Paintings’ explores the art activity rather than the paintings style’s distinction the ‘Raghogarh Paintings’ explores the art activity that the ‘Raghogarh Painters’ carried out for about two hundred years. It focuses mainly on the kind of ‘image’ that the ‘Raghogarh Artist made the primary vehicle of their theme besides the kind of perspective the background and the subsidiary imagery, iconographic vision anatomical modelling, art-idiom and vocabulary, palette, levels of technical maturity and phases of stylistic growth analyzing along with the character of patronage-what actually shaped this art , its theme preference across generations.


One of its prestigious treasures, the National Museum has a collection of over 335 miniature, the witness of a well sustained art activity stretching over a long period of time involving many hands that worked on them, and many minds that patronized such efforts, though strangely uninfluenced by any of the more prevalent and powerful streams flooding other Rajput courts those days. Most of these 35 miniature are still unpublished and unexplored. The ‘Raghogarh Paintings’ has included 140 of them covering not only all significant aspects of this art –activity but also some very interesting variations made in deviation from the set norms. For example, in some folios illustrating Rama-katha Rama has been portrayed blue-bodied-his usual body colour that revealed his oneness with Vishnu as his incarnation, while in the other, golden-hued-the artist’s own enthusiasm in regard to Rama’s sublime beauty as to him his model of beauty could not be otherwise than were different and the activity stretched over a long period of time, and on the other that there reflects in them the unfettered freedom of folk art-the local chiteras way of viewing their subject.




'Raghogarh Paintings' is a study of the technique, theme, aesthetics and evolution of the art-style of miniatures from Raghogarh school in the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi. Founded by Maharaja Lal Singh in 1677 AD Raghogarh emerged as the Kheechis' ruling seat and the seat of their art when his successor Maharaja Dhiraj Singh ascended the throne of Raghogarh. He emerged not only as a great political power in Rajput feudatory but also as a great patron of art. The school of art that he founded was Raghogarh's distinction for about 200 years, the most significant period being its first 85 years broadly from 1700 AD to 1785 AD. The portraits that the Raghogarh painters rendered comprised a very wide range that included kings and princes: Maharaja Lal Singh, Maharaja Dhiraj Singh, Kunwar Gaj Singh, Maharaja Vikramjit Singh, Maharaja Balbhadra Singh, Maharaja Balwant Singh, and Maharaja Jai Singh, nobles, Mughal emperors, rulers of other Rajput states amongst others. They showcased exceptional skill in portraying various animals - dogs, horses and elephants in particular. Raghogarh painters illustrated Ragamala, literary classics like the Ramayana, Gita Govinda, Rasikpriya, Krishna lila, Lord Vishnu's ten incarnations, etc.


However, while the early art-styles as the Buddhist and Jain, various Pahari and Rajasthani schools, and the Mughal or the Deccani, have been extensively explored and published, the styles of Central Indian schools, Bundelkhand and Malwa are little explored. Raghogarh is still striving for its identity. National Museum has the largest and prestigious collection of Raghogarh miniatures. It was thus decided to publish it to bring it to the masses.


Art hi torians Prof P C jain and Vijay Kumar Mathur, Curator, National Museum, New Delhi came forward and they explored the stylistic distinction of Raghogarh Paintings. It is a pioneer work on the subject and shall be able to fill a conspicuous gap in the history of Indian miniatures. I congratulate both the scholars for this academic study and am sure it will be welcomed by students and scholars alike.












Raghogarh, the painting and the patron




Illustrative Painting




Portrait Painting







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