A Balsam Plant
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
Paintings from the Deccan region are celebrated for their sometimes weird, but always wonderful, representations of oversized, flowering plants. By placing this balsam plant against a solid background, enlarging its scale, and isolating it in the center of the painting, the artist has created a floral portrait. Interest in floral portraiture likely derived from engraved images imported from Europe. But the Deccani artist does not render the plant precisely as it appears in nature. Instead he stiffens the stem, makes the blooms symmetrical, and aligns the clouds and tiny flowers to create an exquisite composition of perfect regularity.