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Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India

Edited by Stephanie Schrader
With contributions by Catherine Glynn, Yael Rice, and William W. Robinson

This sumptuously illustrated volume examines the impact of Indian art and culture on Rembrandt (1606–1669) in the late 1650s. By pairing Rembrandt’s twenty-two extant drawings of Shah Jahan, Jahangir, Dara Shikoh, and other Mughal courtiers with Mughal paintings of similar compositions, the book critiques the prevailing notion that Rembrandt “brought life” to the static Mughal art. Written by scholars of both Dutch and Indian art, the essays in this volume instead demonstrate how Rembrandt’s contact with Mughal painting inspired him to draw in an entirely new, refined style on Asian paper—an approach that was shaped by the Dutch trade in Asia and prompted by the curiosity of a foreign culture. Seen in this light, Rembrandt’s engagement with India enriches our understanding of collecting in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, the Dutch global economy, and Rembrandt’s artistic self-fashioning. A close examination of the Mughal imperial workshop provides new insights into how Indian paintings came to Europe as well as how Dutch prints were incorporated into Mughal compositions.  

This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center March 13 to June 24, 2018.

Stephanie Schrader is curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is editor of Looking East: Rubens’s Encounter with Asia (Getty Publications, 2013)

“This superb catalogue of a J. Paul Getty Museum exhibition, curated by Stephanie Schrader, tells a complexly interwoven story of early modern global art exchange by juxtaposing twenty of Rembrandt’s pen-and-wash drawings of Mughal rulers with exquisite examples of the types of miniature painted portraits that inspired them.”
—H. Perry Chapman, Renaissance Quarterly

“The essays on Rembrandt’s work and on Mughal artistic practices by eminent scholars in each of these domains . . . should serve as a touchstone for how to write a history of global artistic encounters.”

“The collaboration between scholars of Dutch art (Schrader and Robinson) and Mughal painting (Glynn and Rice) offers a welcome balance between Western and non-Western viewpoints that yields interesting new insights into Rembrandt’s engagement with the increasingly interconnected world of early modernity.”
Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews

160 pages 
8 3/4 x 11 1/2 inches
138 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-552-5

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum