Fortified City of Ranthambhor

Artist: Generation of Bagta (active ca. 1761–1814)

Date: ca. 1810–18

Culture: India (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Medium: Opaque watercolor and ink on paper

Dimensions: Overall: 29 x 40 5/8 in. (73.7 x 103.2 cm)
Framed: 39 3/4 x 50 3/4 in. (101 x 128.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.100.6


The lofty palaces of Rajasthan, often sited on fortified hills, invited renderings with daring perspectives. With Bagta’s 1806 pioneering depiction of Singh Sagar Lake Palace, new possibilities opened up. The circulation of European topographical maps undoubtedly provided the conceptual tools for depicting what the artist of this spectacularly large work could only imagine—an aerial view. The river-moated hill location of Ranthambhor fort and town could only have been conceived in this manner by an artist familiar with the conceptual language of mapmaking; the landscape appears contoured, but on closer examination, it is in fact tiered. The artist wedded traditional Indian renderings of hillocks, rocky outcrops, and trees to a way of seeing that must have come from cartography. While many of the features are rendered in plan, the townscapes are seen in elevation, creating a multifarious vision that is new in Indian painting.