European Scene

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, Asia

c. 1600, borders 18th century?

Ink, transparent watercolor, and gold on paper

Image: 7 × 4 1/16 inches (17.8 × 10.3 cm) Sheet: 15 7/8 × 10 11/16 inches (40.3 × 27.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955

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This delicate drawing, whose subject is unknown, borrows heavily from the many European engravings given to the Mughal emperor Akbar (ruled 1556-1605) and stored in the massive court library. Not only has the Mughal artist used a translucent wash to add roundness to the figures and drapery, but he has also borrowed the idea, if not the exact process, of European one-point perspective in the receding architecture and throne. Even the bold outlines and carefully modulated tones - hallmarks of the nim qalam (half-pen) technique - echo the look of prints. At the same time, the drawing's sweeping lines evoke the calligrapher's art, examples of which frame the image on all four sides.