Arts of the Book: Illustrated Texts, Miniatures
An Aged Pilgrim
Mughal, c.1618-20 CE
Materials and technique
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Page 36.7 x 24.5 cm; Image 11.5 x 6.5 cm
A pilgrim, who is bent with age but spiritually enlightened, inspires a beautiful pink blossom, a sign of renewal, to turn toward him and his inner light. This painting of great sensitivity was completed by Abu’l Hasan, one of the most important painters in the service of Jahangir (r. 1605-27 CE). Abu’l Hasan, called Nadir al-Zaman (Rarity of the Age) was part of the younger generation of Jahangir’s artists, men who developed a new, naturalistic style of painting which incorporated European techniques of shading and volume. His technical precision, coupled with his ability to capture the essence of his subject made his portraits and manuscript paintings unique and extraordinary. Jahangir was profoundly interested in ascetics and flowers, as demonstrated by his writings and albums; this portrait would have pleased him.
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