The Fralin Museum of Art began collecting South Asian art seriously in 1992, acquiring a collection that today ranks among the best held by a university museum in the southeast. From Aug. 29 through Dec. 21, 2014, The Fralin will present Realms of Earth and Sky, an exhibition comprising a selection of these works, supplemented by others drawn from private collections.
The paintings represent a number of different artistic traditions and range across a span of five centuries. Themes include the stylistic relationship between Mughal and Rajput paintings and the function of book illustration. In meticulously rendered tableaux, viewers will encounter scenes ranging from the opulence of the Mughal court to the actions of gods in the forms of men, and from lively battles to depictions of intimate courtly love. The styles can be intricately refined or sweepingly bold, all contained in the small scale of the manuscript or album page.
Portraiture, religious and literary texts, and Ragamala paintings are particularly well represented in the The Fralin collection of Indian painting. Highlights will include a rare sixteenth-century imperial Mughal painting by Khem Karan, a Rasikapriya illustration done by the famous seventeenth-century Mewari artist Sahibdin, and a portrait of the Guler ruler Raja Bishan Singh, attributed to Nainsukh.
A lavishly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition Realms of Earth and Sky: Indian Painting from the 15th to the 19th Century. Written by the exhibition curator Daniel J. Ehnbom, with additional entries by Krista Gulbransen, this publication documents works from The Fralin Museum of Art's exceptional collection of Indian painting, as well as important loans featured in the exhibition. High-quality photographs capture the exquisite details of the works and illustrate entries in which compelling new research is presented in a format that will appeal to a variety of audiences. The catalogue not only highlights outstanding works from The Fralin's collection but also represents an important contribution to current scholarship on Indian painting.
Enhancing this exhibition and its catalogue is The Realms of Earth and Sky app, available for free in Apple's App Store (iPhone or iPad iOS7).
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, The Fralin Museum of Art Volunteer Board, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Weedon Foundation, U.Va. Arts Council: Enriching the Arts on Grounds, an anonymous donor, WTJU 91.1 FM, albemarle Magazine, and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.