Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Mughal Art in India

Who was Bichitr?

Bichitr was an important court painter active during the rein of Akbar the Great’s son, Jahangir (who ruled from 1605 to 1627), as well as Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal. Bichitr was a skilled miniature painter who was possibly raised by the court, which is where he got his early education. He was interested in European painting and some of his work blends Indian landscapes with European perspective techniques. In his miniature painting, Jahangir Preferring a Sufi to Kings (c. 1625), Bichitr included a small self-portrait among a group of other portraits of important figures such as Ottoman rulers and even King James I of England, which Bichitr likely copied from another portrait. The self-portrait shows the artist holding a small painting of himself, resulting in a painting within a painting. Bichitr bows respectfully to Jahangir, the Mughal ruler.


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