The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works 1100 -1900

Thames & Hudson

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B. N. Goswamy

Hardcover |  18.3 x 5.1 x 24.1 cm | 584 pp

Thames & Hudson | 2016 | 9780500239506

In this magnificent lavishly illustrated book, renowned art historian B. N. Goswamy opens readers' eyes to the wonders of Indian painting, and shows them new ways of seeing art. An illuminating introductory essay, 'A Layered World', explains the themes and emotions that inspired Indian painters, the values and influences that shaped their work, and the unique ways in which they depicted time and space. It describes, too, the different regional styles, the relationship between patrons and painters, the tools and techniques the painters used and the milieu in which they created their works.

The second part of this book, 'Close Encounters with 101 Great Works', presents paintings carefully selected by Professor Goswamy, spanning nearly a thousand years and ranging from Jain manuscripts and Rajasthani, Mughal, Pahari and Deccani miniatures, to Company School paintings. His description and analysis of these works unlock the treasures that lie within them and show us how to 'read' each painting, as he points out its finest features, explains its visual vocabulary and symbolism, and recounts the story, legend or event that inspired it.

Combining deep scholarship with great storytelling, this is a book of enduring value that will both educate and delight the reader. It is destined to become a classic.


'An out-and-out masterpiece ... will undoubtedly come to be looked on as one of the greatest books ever written on Indian art'
William Dalrymple, Guardian

'Wonderful … a book to make both layman and connoisseur alike realise why pre-modern Indian painting is one of the great arts of the world'
Neil MacGregor

'Professor Goswamy’s book meets a long-felt need. In all the years I have been involved with Indian art I have repeatedly been asked to recommend a book which covers the whole subject. This is it. This is it. This is it'
Sir Howard Hodgkin

'No one knows more about Indian painting than B.N. Goswamy and in 'The Spirit of Indian Painting' he shares a lifetime of knowledge and insights'
Glenn Lowry


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