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Indian; Mughal

Paintings of a pelican and the Virgin and Child. c. 1600-1750

32.7 x 22.2 cm (folio dimensions) | RCIN 1005069.aa

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  • f.26

    The Madonna and Child, after Durer, early 17th century.

    A colour reinterpretation by a Mughal artist of Madonna by the Tree, an engraving of 1513 by the German artist Albrecht Dürer (see RCIN 800045). Jesuit priests brought religious prints to use as tools in their missions at the Mughal court, and such seemingly ‘Christian’ imagery found its way into Mughal paintings, murals and decorative arts.

    Mary is a highly important figure in Islam, and it is likely that the artist of this work associated the subject of the Dürer engraving with a verse from the Quran (‘And also We made the son of Mary and his mother a sign to mankind, and gave them a shelter on a peaceful hillside watered by a fresh spring, Quran 23:50) rather than a Biblical reference.

    An underdrawing visible through infrared reflectography shows that the image was not traced from the engraving and that many changes were made to the composition as the painting progressed, including the drapery of Mary’s vibrant blue cloak. Close inspection reveals areas of damage and several stages of poor overpainting and retouching in the background to the figures, the latest of which probably date to the mid-eighteenth century when the work was mounted into its present borders.


    Pelican, early 18th century.

    Another version of the same subject as the previous painting of this album on f.25v (RCIN 1005069.aa). 

    For further information on this album see RCIN 1005069.

    Thought to have been presented to George IV by the Nawab of Awadh c. 1828.

  • Measurements

    32.7 x 22.2 cm (folio dimensions)

    20 x 12.2 cm (image)

    12.0 x 7.1 cm (image)