The Spirit of Indian Painting

Close Encounters with 101 Great Works 1100 -1900


‘In all the years I have been involved with Indian art I have repeatedly been asked to recommend a book which covers the whole subject. This is it. This is it. This is it’ Sir Howard Hodgkin

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ISBN: 9780500239506 Category:

B. N. Goswamy


In this magnificent lavishly illustrated book, renowned art historian B. N. Goswamy opens readers’ eyes to the wonders of Indian painting, and shows them new ways of seeing art. An illuminating introductory essay, ‘A Layered World’, explains the themes and emotions that inspired Indian painters, the values and influences that shaped their work, and the unique ways in which they depicted time and space. It describes, too, the different regional styles, the relationship between patrons and painters, the tools and techniques the painters used and the milieu in which they created their works.

The second part of this book, ‘Close Encounters woth 101 Great Works’, presents paintings carefully selected by Professor Goswamy, spanning nearly a thousand years and ranging from Jain manuscripts and Rajasthani, Mughal, Pahari and Deccani miniatures, to Company School paintings. His description and analysis of these works unlock the treasures that lie within them and show us how to ‘read’ each painting, as he points out its finest features, explains its visual vocabulary and symbolism, and recounts the story, legend or event that inspired it.

Combining deep scholarship with great storytelling, this is a book of enduring value that will both educate and delight the reader. It is destined to become a classic.

Additional information

Weight 1582 g
Dimensions 17.9 x 23.9 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 March 2016
Number of pages 584
Format Hardback
Dimensions 17.9 x 23.9 cm
Weight 1582 g


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B. N. Goswamy is Professor Emeritus of art history at the Panjab University and a world authority on Indian painting. He has written and lectured extensively, and been a guest curator of major exhibitions of Indian art all over the world, most recently of the path-breaking exhibition 'Masters of Indian Painting' at the Museum Rietberg, Zurich, and at the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Professor Goswany's many publications include Essence of Indian Art, Wonders of a Golden Age, Pahari Masters, Domains of Wonder and Nainsukh of Guler.