Rana Amar Singh II in Udaipur during a Monsoon Downpour
In 2011-2012, nine important paintings (F2011.5-6; F2012.4.1-7) from the Hindu court of Mewar (present-day Rajasthan) were acquired to complement the museums' renowned imperial Mughal painting collections.
This innovative image is one of the three earliest extant topographical paintings from Mewar, all of monumental scale and painted on cloth. It exemplifies Rana Amar Singh II's ambition to create an impressive dynasty identity, court culture, and capital city (at Udaipur) that would rival those of other north Indian courts, both Mughal and Rajput. Among its most extraordinary passages are the compositional sweep that encompasses court, palace, town, and countryside; the monsoon rains whipping up the lake; and the kneeling elephant with rolled trunk in the courtyard's lower left. The Hindu temple on top of the hill is the Amba Mata.
As a whole, the composition is constructed from multiple perspectives, plan and elevation views of architecture, and a hierarchy of scale. These pictorial strategies both focus attention on the assembled court enjoying elephant entertainment within the City Palace and construct a larger cartographic image of Udaipur as the king's grand domain. This large-scale imagining of place is the hallmark of Mewar's distinctive contribution to Indian painting over the next 150 years, as can be seen in eighteenth-century examples in the Freer collection [F1986.7, F1992.28, and F2000.17].