Miniature pasted on an album leaf from the period of Shah Jahan. “King David Playing the Harp”
India, Mughal; 1610-1620 (miniature) and c. 1640 (leaf)
Leaf: 38.5 × 26.3 cm
Calligraphy: 21.8 × 12.8 cm
The miniature was attributed – in writing on the podium – to Manohar, one of Jahangir’s painters. In the court studio of his son, Shah Jahan, it was pasted in an album with an elegantly painted flower border. On the back is a poem calligraphed by Mir Ali Haravi with a corresponding border.
Manohar was the son of Basawan, one of Akbar’s favorite painters. He was inspired for this miniature by an engraving by the Flemish artist Johannes Sadeler, but thoroughly cleansed the main motif of the European background and placed the monumental harp-playing David in a curiously airless space.
The painting is a good example of how European art was transformed by Mughal painters.
Inv. no. 31/2001
Sotheby’s, London, 16/4 1984, lot 87;
Linda York Leach: Mughal and other Indian paintings from the Chester Beatty Library, vol. 1, London 1995, pp. 380-381, note 3:5;
Sotheby’s, London, 23/4 1996, lot 8;
Joachim K. Bautze: Interaction of cultures : Indian and Western painting, 1780-1910 : The Ehrenfeld Collection, Alexandria, VA 1998, cat.no. 1;
Jorge Flores and Nuno Vassallo e Silva (eds.): Goa and the Great Mughal, Calouste Gulbenkian, Lissabon 2004, p. 172, cat.no. 92;
Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom (eds.): Cosmophilia. Islamic Art from the David Collection, Copenhagen, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, Boston 2006, cat.no. 123;
Kjeld von Folsach: For the Privileged Few: Islamic Miniature Painting from The David Collection, Louisiana, Humlebæk 2007, cat.no. 101;
Anand Amaladass and Gudrun Löwner: Christian themes in Indian art : from the Mogul times till today, New Delhi 2012, p. 39, 2/17;
Kjeld von Folsach: Flora islamica: plantemotiver i islamisk kunst, Davids Samling, København 2013, cat.no. 38;
David R. M. Irving: “Psalms, Islam, and music: dialogues and divergence about David in Christian-Muslim encounters of the seventeenth century” in Yale Journal of music and religion, 2016, 2:1, fig. 1;
Mentioned in Will Kwiatkowski: Legacy of the masters: painting and calligraphy of the Islamic world from the Shavleyan family collection, London 2019, p. 184;