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Paintings > Mughal > Playing the Harp
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Playing the Harp

Playing the Harp

Playing the Harp

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Watercolor on Paper

10.5 inches X 13.1 inches
Item Code:
MG42
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Viewed 10947 times since 25th Nov, 2008
This work leads us into a world, which clearly bears a Mughal impress in its fluent naturalism, but is free of the pretensions and the aridity which had entered the Mughal work in the 18th century.

Enthroned, playing a harp, the man is reminiscent of the early Christian portrayal of angels playing the harp. A simple crown rests on his head. The slim, long face and the facial features remind one of Persian impact – small eyes, aquiline nose, the cut of the beard. The attire he wears bears a Roman imprint; the octagonal pedestal is purely Mughal. Hence, it is a pure amalgamation of various cultures. The Mughal art was unable to save itself from external influences.

As much as the tactile quality of the upper garment is achieved, the folds of the lower one fall flat and seem unrealistic as compared to the other elements of the painting. The enthroned figure is isolated in the absence of any background embellishments. The pistachio green in the background compliments the jewel-like colours of the protagonist. The impression of the sky at the upper edge is commonly found in Mughal portraits.

This description by Renu Rana.


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  • This may be the Jewish King David who was famed for his harp and psalms for which he was as a child called to the court of King Saul to soothe his headaches.
    by Ian Ison on 11th Jan 2009
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