India (Rajasthan, Jaipur)
Ink and opaque watercolor on paper; 29 x 40 1/4 in. (73.7 x 102.2 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1996 (1996.100.6)
The tenth-century fort of Ranthambhor, set on a tall, isolated crag in a heavily forested area between Jaipur and Kota and now in ruins, is one of the most famous and forbidding structures in India. In the early nineteenth century, it was used by Maharaja Jagat Singh of Jaipur (r. 180318), who is mentioned in one of the many inscriptions on this painting. The work can be dated to his reign. Although the main view is aerial, individual elements are treated in oblique perspective, making them easily identifiable. Simultaneously a topographical study and a map, this compelling painting transcends both categories. The artist has created an image with almost organic overtones, in which the recorded facts are subsumed by his pictorial inventiveness and turned into a grand design.