The origin of Mughal painting in India traces back to around 16th century-18th century. During this time period Mughals dominated a huge part of India. Paintings of Mughal period or Mughal paintings developed and boomed during the reign of Emperor Akbar, Jahangir and Shajahan. There is a fine blend of the Indian and Persian style in Mughal paintings. A big number of themes were depicted by Mughal paintings. Paintings that belong to Mughal era were rich as far as their range is concerned. Mughal painting of India is an exquisite art of creativity which has won numerous laurels to its name and that of India as well. The grace and glamour of Mughal paintings is painted in the account that follows.
Mughal paintings dawned during the time of Humayun. Praiseworthy Persian artists Abd-us-samad and Mir-Sayyid Ali accompanied him on his return to India from exile. These artists hold the credit for the growth of Mughal painting. The latest example of the Mughal art style is the Tutinama painting-Tales of a parrot. Currently, it is in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Another popular Mughal painting is the ‘Princess of the House of Timur’ which is amongst the early Mughal paintings redone several times.
It was during the reigns of Akbar, Jahangir and Shajahan that Mughal paintings richly prospered. Mughal paintings of early part of Mughal period are seen in a specialist organization of a scriptorium or palace studio. The celebrated painter Bihzad led the scriptorium. Scriptorium became a role model for the scriptoria which was later built by Humayun and Akbar. Though Aurangzeb didn’t encourage painting but it didn’t leave its momentum during his reign. During Muhammad Shah Rangeela, there was a little revival of Mughal painting.
Mughal paintings portray a number of themes. Scenes these paintings included portraits, events, and scenes of hunting, wild life, illustrating lovers in warm postures and instances of battles and life of courts.
Mughal paintings greatly grew during the reign of Akbar. Numerous artists painted under the supervision of Persian artists. As tales fascinated Akbar, the paintings of his period reflect Ramayana, Mahabharata and Persian epics. Naturalism accompanied by portraits, animal tales landscapes and the like was depicted in Mughal paintings.
Jahangir greatly supported various art forms, particularly paintings. His time period witnessed excellent finish in brushwork along with the usage of subdued and lighter colors. Main themes of these paintings revolved around the instances from Jahangir’s life, flowers, portraits, animals, birds and the like. The most celebrated examples of Mughal paintings consist of an illustrative exemplification of Emperor Jahangir`s biography -Jahangirnama.
Elegance and sophistication of Mughal painting reached its pinnacle during the reign of Shahjahan. Themes of paintings during this period centered around lovers in musical parties, on terraces and gardens, gathering of ascetics around fire and the like.
Persian artists Abdus Samad and Mir Sayid Ali were in charge of the regal atelier during the early influential stages of Mughal painting. Various artists worked on great commission, most of them were possible Hindu, as recorded names suggest. Mughal painting touched new heights during late 16th and early 17th centuries with impressive art works by master artists like Basawan, Lal, Kesu Das, Daswanth and Miskin. Abu al-Hasan was a renowned painter and the Mughal ruler of that time was Jahangir. Govardhan was a well-known painter during the time of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The sub-imperial school of Mughal painting integrated artists like Kamal, Mushfiq, and Fazl.
Mughal miniature paintings are being fashioned even today by some artists in Rajasthan mainly concentrated in Jaipur. Though many of these miniatures are dexterous copies of the originals, modern works with classic methods have been created by some artists.
Among the modern Mughal painting experts whom India recognized, the most outstanding is Rafi Uddin. His younger brother Saif Uddin, has also become the most accepted modern Mughal painter.
Some other artists in Rajasthan are Ram Gopal Vijayvargiya, Kishan Mali Sharma, Gopal Kamawat, Kaluram Panchal, Tilak Gitai, Mohammed Usman and Mohammed Luqman, Ved Pal Sharma, Kailash Raj and the Joshi family.
Mughal painting in India is a meticulous style of South Asian painting, usually confined to miniatures as book images or as individual works to be kept in albums, emerged from Persian miniature painting. Padshahnama is the most famed book of Mughal miniature painting. This painting is eminent for its brilliance and excellence.