Courtly Art

British painter Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin’s interest in Indian paintings started in the late ’40s when he was still a schoolboy.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: April 2, 2012 4:09 am

British painter Sir Gordon Howard Eliot Hodgkin’s interest in Indian paintings started in the late ’40s when he was still a schoolboy. Since then,it has become a vast collection. Oxford University’s first museum,Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology,is currently displaying 115 works from the collection,most of which comprise paintings of the Mughal period (c 1550-1850). Titled Visions Of Mughal India: The Collection of Howard Hodgkin,the exhibition displays these works for the first time.

Hodgkin’s India connection of 50 years comes not out of scholarly quest,but because,as he said,“I thought they were beautiful because they touched my emotions”. We see refined works of the imperial Mughal court,poetic paintings of the Deccan sultanates and styles of Rajput kingdoms of Rajasthan and Punjab Hills. In the last two decades,Hodgkin has acquired notable works such as the Bijapur portrait of Sultan Ali Adil Shah,among others. Although on in the UK,an online version of the show (jameelcentre.ashmolean.org/visions) has been presented by Eastern Art Online. Here,one can browse through the high-quality zoomable versions.

The show has been supported by The Nehru Centre,the cultural wing of the High Commission of India,and is on at Ashmolean Special Exhibition Galleries 59–60,till April 22.

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