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Wall Paintings of Rajasthan: Amber and Jaipur

Rosa Maria Cimino (Author)
Synopsis Wall painting as an art genre enjoyed great popularity in India starting in the 2nd century B.C., but attaining its pinnacle only in the 6th century A.D., with the spending paintings of Ajanta and then others. In the 16-17th centuries they underwent a vigorous revival and played an important role in the decoration of the royal palaces, in the homes of the noble and rich, in temples and cenotaphs. Unfortunately the inveterate Indian custom of periodically ‘renovating’ the decoration of homes and temples by repainting them or drastically erasing parts of them, is leading to the destruction of important works of art from the past. The aim of the present book is also to document the serious damage caused to this Indian artistic heritage. The research, which covered more than 40 monuments, most of which unpublished or else published only in learned journals, aimed at tracing their stylistic and iconographic evolution. In particular, it sheds some light on the changes produced by contact with Mughal art, which had a strong influence on the so-called ‘provincial art’. Treatment is given also to those elements of western origin - in particular the conception of space - initially ‘mediated’ by Mughal art, but then absorbed directly from the printed matter or paintings brought by travellers, missionaries or political functionaries. In tracing this evolution the author deemed it essential to make comparisons with contemporary miniatures. The various artistic periods, which are usually dominated by the personality of famous and illuminated kings, are introduced by historical notes. The subjects depicted in the wall paintings, as well as in the miniatures, draw their inspiration not only from religious mythology but also from ‘lay’ Literature, often on the subject of love, or from legends whose heroes and heroines have become bywords in popular lore. Contacts with the Mughal empire resulted in the introduction of new themes, this time based on the habits and customs of the kings and nobles and, to a lesser extent, of the people. The often detailed description the author has given of the paintings brings the reader into contact with the world of Indian culture and society, which is thus ‘narrated’ directly and immediately. This also enables the non-specialist reader to enjoy the works presented, which depict a joyful and legendary world that no longer exists but is directly attested in the wall paintings, and of course, in the miniatures.
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About the author

Rosa Maria Cimino

Rosa Maria Cimino graduated from ‘La Sapienza’ University of Rome with a thesis on Indian art. She subsequently did postgraduate work in Oriental Archaeology and took a Ph.D. in Indian art. The thesis for the latter is the subject of the present book. Since 1970 she has worked at the cultural office of the former Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente (IsMEO), now Istituto Italiano per I’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO), promoting cultural relations between Italy and Oriental countries, organizing art exhibitions, lectures, conferences and congresses. She has travelled to India more than 25 times (once a year since 1975) where she carried out her art studies. She has taught Indian art for several years at the School of Languages and Oriental Cultures of IsMEO. She has participated in international congresses and lectured in a number of Italian cultural institutes. She promoted two television broadcasts on India and has also written a TV programme on Krishnamurti. A number of her studies on various aspects of Indian art have been published in books and specialized journals. For more than 10 years she has focused specifically on miniatures and wall paintings. She is also preparing a new book on the wall painting of Udaipur. On behalf of the former IsMEO she has organized three exhibitions. The first in 1974, entitled ‘India and Italy’ dealt with the cultural relations between Italy and India over the centuries, and the third, in 1995, was entitled ‘Ancient Rome and India’ and dealt with a similar field, namely the relations between the Roman world and India. In both cases she was the co-author of the catalogue. The exhibitions toured numerous cities in India. The second exhibition, in 1985, entitled ‘Court Life in Rajasthan’, organized by CESMEO of Turin in collaboration with IsMEO, was held in the Royal Palace of Turin and displayed Indian miniatures from numerous European museums. She was the author of the catalogue in this case.

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Bibliographic information

Title Wall Paintings of Rajasthan: Amber and Jaipur
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173052018
length xxviii+260p., 132 Col. & 182 B/w Plates; Notes; References; Glossary; Bibliography; Index; 31cm.