What Happened to the Court Artists? The Changing World of Visual Arts

What happened to the court artists who earlier painted miniatures? How did the painters at Indian courts react to the new traditions of imperial art? We can see different trends in different courts.

In Mysore, Tipu Sultan not only fought the British on the battlefield but also resisted the cultural traditions associated with them. He continued to encourage local traditions and had the walls of his palace at Seringapatam covered with mural paintings done by local artists. This painting celebrates the famous battle of Polilur of 1780 in which Tipu and Haidar Ali defeated the English troops

In the court of Murshidabad, we see a different trend. Here, after defeating Sirajuddaulah the British had successfully installed their puppet Nawabs on the throne, first Mir Zafar and then Mir Qasim. The court at Murshidabad encouraged local miniature artists to absorb the tastes and artistic styles of the British.

What Happened to the Court Artists?

With the establishment of British power, many of the local courts lost their influence and wealth. They could no longer support painters and pay them to paint for the court. Many of them turned to the British. At the same time, British officials, who found the world in the colonies different from that back home, wanted images through which they could understand India, remember their life in India, and depict India to the Western world.

So they find local painters producing a vast number of images of local plants and animals, historical buildings and monuments, festivals and processions, trades and crafts, castes, and communities. These pictures, eagerly collected by the East India Company officials, came to be known as Company paintings.

To read more about the changing world of visual arts, read the relevant articles given below.

Read More: The New Popular Indian Art: Kalighat Paintings- Class 8 History Notes

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