Miniature Worlds: Art from India at The Palmer Museum of Art


Nanda Consults the Astrologers, c. 1790, opaque watercolor on paper, 17 x 21 inches. Collection The Art Complex Museum. Image courtesy ExhibitsUSA.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA.- Miniature Worlds: Art from India features watercolors, drawings, and sculpture spanning 400 years of Indian history. The exhibition illuminates various forms of Indic media from the 15th to the 19th centuries as well as aspects of its religion and history. All of the artworks are drawn from the Leland C. and Paula Wyman Collection of The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts, an extraordinary collection of 300 paintings purchased in the late 1960s. These works have had a significant influence on contemporary artists from India and the United States.

Two major painting traditions, Rajput and Mughal, are represented in the exhibition. Rajput paintings focus on religious themes, including images of Hindu and Jain deities, and feature a native style with bold, flat colors. In 1526, the Mughal dynasty ushered in new themes, particularly history painting and portraiture. Mughal paintings reflect a fascination with legendary history and a Persian influence in its bold composition, variety of colors, and meticulous brushwork. Religion and love are two of the five main themes that comprise the exhibition, and the most active images illustrate heroic battles and hunting scenes.

Miniature Worlds is curated by Alice R. M. Hyland, Ph.D., of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in collaboration with Catherine Mayes, Senior Curator at The Art Complex Museum. Joan Cummins of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Dr. John Seyller of the University of Vermont, both experts in the field, have served as advisors. Extensive educational and didactic materials accompany the exhibition, including a timeline, maps, and a magnifying glass to enable visitors to study the remarkable details contained in these works.
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