This posthumous portrait of Akbar incorporates the Elizabethan-derived motif of a lion and calf living in peace under the emperor’s benign rule. Govardhan, a master of psychological portraiture, has given the calf an air of meek nervousness, as expressed in its sideways glance and lowered ears, due no doubt to the proximity of the lion’s visible teeth. Cherubs above and a Netherlandish background add cosmopolitan touches in vogue at the time.
Inscription: 220.127.116.11 verso: In Persian, in lower border (in Shah Jahan's hand): Work of Govardhan.
Marking: 18.104.22.168 verso: Margin number '26' is inscribed in the gilt margin.
Jack S. Rofe, Scotland (in 1929; sale, Sotheby's London,December 12, 1929, to Kevorkian); Hagop Kevorkian, New York, from 1929]; [ Kevorkian Foundation, New York, until 1955; gift and sale to MMA]
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Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte islamico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 8.
Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Vision of Kings: Art and Experience in India," November 25, 1995–February 4, 1996, no. 94.
Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "The Vision of Kings: Art and Experience in India," February 23, 1996–April 28, 1996, no. 94.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Indian Court Painting," March 25, 1997–July 6, 1997, no. 22.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sultan Ali of Mashhad, Master of Nasta'liq," January 19, 2001–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.
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Okada, Amina. Imperial Mughal Painters: Indian Miniatures from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Paris: Flammarion, 1992. p. 44, ill. fig. 44 (color), verso.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994-Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 8, pp. 60-61, ill. p. 61 (b/w).
Brand, Michael. "Art and Experience in India." In The Vision of Kings. Canberra, Australia: National Gallery of Australia, 1995. no. 94, p. 136, ill. p. 136 (color).
Kossak, Steven M., ed. Indian Court Painting 16th–19th century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 22, pp. 49, 51, ill. pl. 22 (color).
Beach, Milo C., Eberhard Fischer, and B.N. Goswamy. Masters of Indian Painting. Vol. Vols. I, II. Zurich, Switzerland: Artibus Asiae Publishers, 2011. vol. I, p. 360.
Haidar, Navina, and Courtney Stewart. "Jewels from the Al-Thani Collection." In Treasures from India. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 43, ill. (color).