Indian miniatures

Indian painting


                     Persian, by Mahaveer Swami                                      Musician, by Mahaveer Swami


                                             Details, turbans, by Mahaveer Swami

                                         Mahaveer swami hb 3

                                                    Maharaja by Mahaveer Swami


              Sadhu and animal mahaveer swami

                 Sadhu by Mahaveer Swami                          Sadhu with animal by Mahaveer Swami


                            Maharaja and sufi according to Mahaveer Swami by Helene Barrieu


                                                         Tree Series by Ariane Mercier




                                               Dessin arbre ariane mercier




The art of Indian miniature began in the Xth century in buddhist monasteries. It experienced a new momentum with the arrival of Moghols in North India in 1526; a subtle synthesis between Persian and Indian elements will create the Moghol style*. Under Shah Jahan (1628-1658), portraits or scenes from court life and their princes, emperors visiting saints, sufis, began to appear. Persian miniatures – particularly moghol - started to be collected especially in Europe in the first half of XVIIth Century.

The colours of these paintings or miniatures are acquired from mineral and vegetable sources; pigments are of natural origin, what give them this beautiful vaporous aspect. The main binder is gum arabic. The paper, made of vegetal fibres or cotton rags, linen, sometimes silk, may be tainted with decoction of saffron, henna, indigofera tinctoria or tea leaves.

The material is made of an assortment of brushes in goat or squirrel hair along with shells of seashells to contain colours. A brush made of only one hair may be used to trace the lines of hair and eyes.

Mahaveer Swami, famous Indian miniaturist today, is still painting these miniatures with great respect for the purest tradition – especially the Bikaner School (Rajasthan) – in a very refined and sophisticated style. He is well known for his paintings of sufis, saints and sadhus with outstanding beards. He claims he is especially influenced by the great Moghol painters of the Jahangir period but he was also trained in different schools of painting – Bikaner, Deccan, Pahari, Rajasthani miniature – as well as Chinese, Korean or Japanese schools. He still uses pigments from natural origin, gum arabic and paints mostly on old printed paper. His ability to paint with only one hair of his brush is outstanding. “Mahaveer Swami is one of the finest traditional artists working in India today. His ethereal colours and exquisite brushwork are combined with unique inner vision and great sensitivity of the world around him by tempering his personal vision with the finely toned technique and rigorous discipline of his tradition. Mahaveer Swami proves that there is no real gap between contemporary and traditional, there is only art”. Mahaveer Swami received numerous prizes in India , at the national and regional level. His paintings are shown in India and abroad. 

Ariane Mercier has been working with Mahaveer Swami for many years; she developed a true collaboration with him and shared several exhibitions in India, Korea and Japan.

* The Iranian influence on Mongols in India, La Revue de Téhéran, March 2014.
Relations between Iran Safavide and Moghol India from the XVIth to the XVIIIth century



                Peinture arbre ariane pour hb 2

                                 Tree by Ariane Mercier


                               Landscape by Ariane Mercier

                       Indian prince according to Mahaveer Swami
                                        by Moni Padioleau


                                   Bikaner wall by Ariane Mercier



                           Festival in Bikaner by Claudine Gillot







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