This sumptuously illustrated volume examines the impact of Indian art and culture on Rembrandt (1606–1669) in the late 1650s. By pairing Rembrandt’s 22 extant drawings of Shah Jahan, Jahangir, Dara Shikoh, and other Mughal courtiers with Mughal paintings of similar compositions, the book critiques the prevailing notion that Rembrandt “brought life” to the static Mughal art. Written by scholars of both Dutch and Indian art, the essays in this volume instead demonstrate how Rembrandt’s contact with Mughal painting inspired him to draw in an entirely new, refined style on Asian paper—an approach that was shaped by the Dutch trade in Asia and prompted by the curiosity of a foreign culture. Seen in this light, Rembrandt’s engagement with India enriches our understanding of collecting in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, the Dutch global economy, and Rembrandt’s artistic self-fashioning. A close examination of the Mughal imperial workshop provides new insights into how Indian paintings came to Europe as well as how Dutch prints were incorporated into Mughal compositions.
This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, March 13 to June 24, 2018.