Mughal Painter of Flora and Fauna Ustad Mansur
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This volume follows Mughal Painters and their Work-A Biographical Survey and Comprehensive Catalogue (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1994), the first comprehensive book of reference on the work of nearly 200 Mughal painters; and has been conceived to provide readers much information on the Mughal painting through the contribution of individual master painters. Need not say ample information is available about the artists of the Mughal atelier (sixteenth-seventeenth centuries). Yet, to date, except for some articles on a few painters, no book has been published on individual artist. Ustad Mansur, a keen observer of nature endowed with almost Euclidean intellect, deserved a more detailed study to re-evaluate his merit as an artist whose achievement in naturalistic portraiture of a large number of species from the world of flora and fauna has remained unsurpassed till today. Our attempt is to enter into the very creative process of this great Mughal painter; to relive in his times and environment, in order to discover real Mansur. The whole panorama of Mansur?s portraits of birds, animals and flowers set in marvellously and uniquely laid background represents, in his true spirit and characteristics, the very quintessence of nature?s endless variety of creation and beauty. Part I provides historical and artistic context in which Ustad Mansur worked. Information about him has been gleaned from original texts (principally Persian historical sources), supplemented by the evidence of artist?s own work. Part II comprises the plate section of representative eighteen miniatures that illustrate our painter?s style and his specialisation in painting. The appendix further enhances the value of this work since it provides correct rendering of contemporary inscriptions and determines genuine signatures and contemporary ascriptions. The volume is richly illustrated with a large number of black-and-white and colour illustrations. These illustrate the art and style of Ustad Mansur Nadir u?l ?Asr (Unequalled of the Age), the most illustrious naturalist painter of India. It will naturally be of interest to students of art and natural history. It is also recommended to persons curious to know about the Mughal times.It is hoped that other volumes on individual Mughal painters will follow and monographs on their lives and work with a criticale valuation will be available.