As part of the Europalia India festival, the Fondation Folon exhibited a remarkable collection of 89 Indian miniatures and preparatory sketches from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Remarkable both for their brilliant colours and sophisticated depictions, these miniatures were created by artists for their sovereign, and took viewers on a trip through the world of the Maharajas, exploring four aspects of their daily lives: their relationship with the divine, love, entertainment and war.
The works, which were produced at the famous schools in Bundi and Kota in Rajasthan, and whose reputation extended far beyond the frontiers of India, invite us to step into the world of the Rajput lords, a world peopled by a diverse cast of protagonists: wives, mistresses and concubines, ministers and warriors, priests, scribes, dancers, musicians and, of course, the court painters.
Talented and privileged chroniclers of their sovereign’s life, the miniaturists transport the viewer to the lush landscapes and sumptuous temples and palaces of Rajasthan, to witness scenes of worship, seduction, relaxation, recreation, hunting and combat. They depict the reality of a time abounding in stories, myths and anecdotes, traces of which can be seen in the details or symbolism in the images.
The exhibition also included around twenty remarkable photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries and some rare film footage shot in the Maharajas’ gardens and palaces.