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Early organized movement of Europeans into Indian shores occurred in the 17th century itself, with Dutch, British and Portuguese companies all attempting to gain maximum control over trading privileges in India. What started as an economic tussle between these European companies gradually made way for the supremacy of the British East India Company in the mid-18th century. The Company, as it came to be called, gradually along with the British Crown, became the imperial overlords of India, assuming economic, political and territorial control. This led to an irreversible transformation of the socio- political landscape of the country, which was now transformed into a colony.

About 30 British portrait painters trained in oil paintings and 28 miniaturists travelled to India between 1770 and 1825 in search of commissions. Amongst the earliest European artists who visited India were John Zoffany, William Hodges, Tilly Kettle, William and Thomas Daniells, Emily Eden and others. From around 1760 till the mid 19th century, these itinerant artist-travelers toured India working for local patrons making paintings and prints of monuments, landscapes as well as portraits. The artists worked in oils on canvas utilizing the western technique of academic realism with its emphasis on linear perspective. These European artists recorded the new colony in prints and paintings that explored the vast landscapes, the numerous historical edifices and monuments and the many communities that inhabited the land. Filtered through the ‘orientalist’ lens, these works imaged India as an exotic and mysterious land in paintings depicting the ghats of Benaras, dancing girls in princely courts, colourful caste costumes, portraits of local rulers and their courtiers, different native occupations and the local flora and fauna.

Daniell, Thomas

Sher Shah’s fort, Lithograph, 59.7 x 48.3 cm

Daniell, Thomas

Benares, Aurangzeb’s Mosque, Oil on canvas, 94 x 127 cm

Hodges, William

The Taj Malah, Oil on canvas, 149.5 x 89 cm

Kettle, Tilly

Dancers, Oil on canvas, 161.3 x 132 cm


Marshall Calcutta, Oil on canvas, 180.3 x 90.2 cm

Eden, Emily

Ranjeet Singh, Lithograph, 25.5 x 33 cm

Daniell, Thomas

Southeast view of Trichinopoly, Lithograph, 58.5 x 40.5 cm

Daniell, Thomas

Hindu Math Chitpore Bazar, Lithograph, 71.6X144.2 cm


International Women's Day 2020

A.A. Almelkar

Miniature Painting

Tanjore and Mysore

European Traveller Artists

Company Period

Kalighat Painting

Academic Realism

Bengal School

Amrita Sher-Gil

Jamini Roy

Gaganendranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore


Artists Collectives

Abstraction in Contemporary Indian Art

Art Movements of 1960s

Art Movements in 1970s


Modern Sculptures

Print Making