‘India and the Netherlands in the Age of Rembrandt’ at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai


16 Oct – 16 Dec, 2019 


“A bridge is a meeting place, a possibility, a metaphor.” – Jeanette Winterson


The ongoing show at CSMVS attempts to trace the history of a four-hundred-year-old bridge that was built between Mughal India and the Netherlands through trades and cultural exchanges. This collaboration between CSMVS, mumbai and Rijksmuseum features artworks by Rembrandt Van Rijn, the Dutch master artist, and Miniature Paintings from the Mughal atelier. Curated by Prof. Dr. Jos J. L. Gommans, Chair Colonial and Global History, Leiden University and Ms. Vandana Prapanna, Senior Curator, CSMVS, this exhibition is based on Prof. Gommans’ recent publication. The show was inaugurated by King Willem Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands during their diplomatic tour to India.

Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a contemporary to mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) and highly fascinated by the intricacies of the miniatures of the Mughal School, that reached him along the trading routes connecting these two sumptuous cultures. He made drawings of Mughal Royalties, alongside copying a few Mughal miniatures in pen and ink, which are distinct from his signature style of painting.

On the other part of the world, Mughal court painters were also introduced to etching prints which travelled with the Dutch traders, and the European realism influenced them with new (to the Mughal miniaturists) techniques such as perspective and chiaroscuro. Biblical scenes started appearing in their paintings, skilfully Indianised by setting the composition before a Mughal architectural backdrop. This amalgamation of styles later defined the evolution of Mughal courtly style.

The must-see exhibition will be on view till Dec 16. Please visit if you’re around in Mumbai.

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Artwork images, courtesy Architectural Digest

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