Divine Pleasures: Painting from India’s Rajput Courts – The Kronos Collections at The Met Fifth Avenue, June 14 – September 12, 2016

“The Kronos Collections include a selection of paintings from northern India, mainly the royal courts of Rajasthan and the Punjab Hills. From the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century, kingdoms and principalities within these regions developed rich traditions of art and architecture under the patronage of the ruling Rajput elites. The blossoming of painting at court was inspired in part by the Hindu bhakti (devotional) cults that swept across northern India as of the fifteenth century. Religious and poetic texts were illustrated by artists who visualized Indian myths and epics in a variety of imaginative styles. Beyond the literary, the subject matter of Rajput painting includes royal portraiture and the documentation of elegant courtly life.

For Steven M. Kossak, the driving force behind the Kronos Collections, aesthetic quality has been a foremost consideration in bringing the material together. Recognizing the power of this sublime imagery upon the mind and spirit of both the historical and the modern connoisseur, he observes that the paintings have a “seemingly magical ability to transmit experience.” His collections define the meeting point between spiritual devotion and royal taste, underscoring a profoundly Indian point of view. The majority of the paintings in this exhibition have been made a promised gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” — The Met

Blindman's Buff-300

Blindman’s Buff: The Demon Pralambha Carries Balarama on His Shoulder. Illustrated folio from the dispersed “Isarda” Bhagavata Purana (The Ancient Story of God). North India, probably Delhi-Agra region, ca. 1560–65. Opaque watercolor on paper; yellow and pink border with variously colored rules; page 7 5/8 x 10 3/8 in. (19.4 x 26.4 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.003)

Ladies on a Terrace-300

Ladies on a Terrace. Painted by the artist Ruknuddin (active ca. 1650–ca. 1697.) Rajasthan, kingdom of Bikaner, dated 1675. Opaque watercolor, black ink, and gold on paper; wide light brown border with variously colored inner rules; painting 7 5/8 x 5 5/16 in. (19.4 x 13.5 cm), page 10 9/16 x 7 9/16 in. (26.8 x 19.2 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.017)

Krishna and the Gopas Enter the Forest-300

Possibly by Kota Master A. Krishna and the Gopas (Cow Herders) Enter the Forest. Rajasthan, kingdom of Kota, ca. 1720. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; red border with black-lined gold inner rule; painting 10 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (26.7 x 19.7 cm), page 12 5/8 x 9 3/8 in. (32.1 x 23.8 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.027)

Krishna Steals the Clothing of the Gopis-300

Krishna Steals the Clothing of the Gopis (Cow Maidens). Attributed to the artist known as the Early Master at the Court of Mandi. Probably an illustrated folio from a dispersed Bhagavata Purana (The Ancient Story of God). Punjab Hills, kingdom of Mandi, ca. 1640. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; red border with white and black inner rules; painting 11 7/8 x 8 in. (30.2 x 20.3 cm), page 13 3/8 x 9 7/16 in. (34 x 24 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.031)

Nobleman and His Devoted Wife-300

A Nobleman and His Devoted Wife Seated in the Forest; Two Female Musicians Attend. Illustrated folio probably from an unidentified nayaka-nayika (hero-heroine) series. Punjab Hills, kingdom of Basohli, ca. 1685. Opaque watercolor, gold, and applied beetle-wing cases on paper; wide red border with black, silver (now tarnished), and striated white inner rules; black outer rule (missing right corner of folio replaced); painting 6 11/16 x 11 in. (17 x 27.9 cm), page 8 1/2 x 12 3/4 in. (21.6 x 32.4 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.034)

Krishna Swallows a Forest Fire-300

Krishna Swallows the Forest Fire. Attributed to the Master at the Court of Mankot (active ca. 1690–1730). Illustrated folio from the dispersed “Upright” Bhagavata Purana (The Ancient Story of God). Punjab Hills, kingdom of Mankot, early 18th century. Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver (now tarnished) on paper; wide red border with white and black inner rules; painting 9 x 6 3/16 in. (22.9 x 15.7 cm), page 11 1/8 x 8 5/16 in. (28.3 x 21.1 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.057)

Krishna and the Gopas Huddle in the Rain-300

Krishna and the Gopas (Cowherders) Huddle in the Rain. Attributed to the artist known as the Master of the Swirling Skies (active second quarter of 18th century). Punjab Hills, kingdom of Jammu, ca. 1725–50. Opaque watercolor and silver (now tarnished) on paper; modern border; painting 8 3/8 x 5 7/8 in. (21.3 x 14.9 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.049)

Hide and Seek-300

Hide-and-Seek: Krishna Playing a Game with the Gopas (Cowherds). Ascribed to the artist Manaku (ca. 1700–ca. 1760). Punjab Hills, kingdom of Guler, ca. 1750–55. Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper; narrow dark blue border (probably trimmed); painting 9 5/8 x 6 3/4 in. (24.4 x 17.1 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.068)

Village Maiden-300

The Village Beauty. Probably painted by the artist Fattu (active ca. 1770– 1820). Illustrated folio from the dispersed “Kangra Bihari” Sat Sai (Seven Hundred Verses) Punjab Hills, kingdom of Kangra, ca. 1785. Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper; narrow yellow and white borders with black inner rules; dark blue spandrels decorated with gold arabesque; painting 7 3/8 x 5 3/16 in. (18.7 x 13.2 cm), page 8 1/8 x 5 7/8 in. (20.6 x 14.9 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.082)

Radha and Krishna in a Palm Grove-300

The Lovers Radha and Krishna in a Palm Grove. Illustrated folio from the dispersed “Second” or “Tehri Garhwal” Gita Govinda (Song of the Cowherds).Punjab Hills, kingdom of Kangra or Guler, ca. 1775–80. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; red border decorated with gold arabesque, with black inner rules; painting 6 x 9 7/8 in. (15.2 x 25.1 cm), page 7 1/16 x 11 in. (17.9 x 27.9 cm). Promised Gift of the Kronos Collections, 2015 (SK.073)

1. Lady playing Tanpura

A Lady Playing the Tanpura. India (Rajasthan, Kishangarh), ca. 1735. Ink, opaque and transparent watercolor, and gold on paper, 18 1/2 x 13 1/4 in. (47 x 33.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fletcher Fund, 1996

2. Raja Balwant Singh Revering Krishna and Radha

Raja Balwant Singh Revering Krishna and Radha. India (Himachal Pradesh, Jasrota), ca. 1745–50. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Overall: 7 3/4 x 6 1/8 in. (19.7 x 15.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1994

3. Krishna Revels with the Gopis

Krishna Revels with the Gopis: Page from a Dispersed Gita Govinda (Song of the Cowherds). India (Madhya Pradesh, Malwa), ca. 1630–40. Opaque watercolor and silver on paper, 4 1/2 x 8 in. (11.4 x 20.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2003

Images Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Installation Photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.