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Mughal miniature: Turkey cock one of the first depiction painted by Mansur, painter at the Court of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir - Essay Example

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Introduction While examining the arguments presented by each author, namely, Jahangir and Heitman, about the paintings of the Turkish cock, what becomes evident is the difference in perception, aesthetic approach and interpretation. I believe that Jahangir had a grandiose vision by which he wanted to be remembered as an emperor who not only ruled well but kept an interest in acquiring whatever beautiful and rare things available on earth, for increasing the ‘wealth’ of his kingdom (97-99)…
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Mughal miniature: Turkey cock one of the first depiction painted by Mansur, painter at the Court of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir
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Download file to see previous pages But for Heitman, it is not the bird but the painter who matters. And he (Heitman) has tried to explore why a painter could be obsessed with a big bird. In a nutshell, Heitman’s narrative develops around the modernity of this painting and the style and vision of the painter. Hence it can be said that the difference between these two authors’ arguments is basically between a period in art criticism when the painting was the ultimate, and an era when the author evolved to become as important as the work of art. Jahangir has tried to draw the attention of his readers to the rarity of the Turkish cock as well as the effort that went into acquiring it and also the foresightedness involved in making a painting of it (97-99). For example, he (Jahangir) has spent a full paragraph-full of words to describe how much effort, risk and money were spent to acquire this rare bird (97). Then he (Jahangir) has reminded the readers that even Babur, the founder of Mughal Empire, wrote about strange animals in his memoirs, he had not showed the wisdom to make paintings of the rare animals he had acquired from various places of the world (99). This is an allusion to one’s own foresightedness and wisdom in a comparative way. After giving this preamble, Jahangir has described the appearance and the physiology of the bird in great detail (98-99). Here, it is noticeable that not once Jahangir has praised the painter for his artistic acumen but has been totally immersed in the beauty and strangeness of the bird. It is as if the painter has become totally nonexistent once the painting was completed. It is the iconography that is relevant for the emperor and he is not expecting the painter to give it his individual creative touch. This lack of interest in the painter can also be attributed to this iconographic painting style, one that depicts the bird as if in a picture post card- static and pleasantly merging with the surroundings. It is as if the painter himself had wiped away his brush strokes, and his individuality from the painting and had instead filled it with a symbolicism representing the Mughal Empire and its cultural ethos. In the painting by John James Audubon, the stylistic element is prominent and this is what Heitman has also pointed to. According to Heitman, Audubon has contributed movement and drama to the painting thereby imparting his naturalist’s ideology that something real is happening in the wild, to the painting. This is substantiated by Heitman by using two examples- the posture and face of the bird suggesting that there was a predator behind it and the bamboo thicket in the background heightening that apprehension for the onlooker of the painting. Another interesting aspect of Heitman’s art criticism on Audubon has been that Heitman moves on from the painting to the painter. After describing the stylistic departure of the painting from its contemporary works of art, Heitman has tried to explore why the painter was into such a setting off from the existing norms. And Heitman has found his answer in many things- the socio-psychological character of Audubon, his patriotism, his taste for the grandiose ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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