Color and Pigments in Indian Painting
Color and Pigments in Indian Painting By Jinah Kim
Image Credit: A Nayika and Her Lover, painting from a Rasamanjari (A Bouquet of Delights) series, c. 1660–1670 | Painted, Opaque watercolour, gold, and beetle-wing cases on paper; actual: 23.4 x 33 cm (9 3/16 x 13 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of John Kenneth Galbraith, 1972.74 | Photo: Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College
How blue is Krishna? Does the Sanskrit term “krsna” mean blue? Colour experience is highly subjective, and colour terms pose semiotic challenges. A fluid semantic range in Sanskrit makes it even more challenging to identify which colour a colour term denotes. Here, the data gleaned from scientific analysis of pigments and the study of material and physical aspects of paintings as objects can help unpack the role of artists in shaping the way we see colour. Identifying pigments in use in Indian miniature painting and reading them in close comparison with the colours discussed in theoretical texts and artistic treatises, afford us a glimpse into artists’ intimate, embodied knowledge of each colour’s material properties. This talk will demonstrate how efforts to contextualize the analytical data on pigments with art historical questions can help advance our understanding of color and pigments in the history of painting beyond a matter of confirmation of a pigment’s use.
Bio: Jinah Kim is the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture. Professor Kim’s research and teaching interests cover a broad range of topics with special interests in intertextuality of text-image relationship, art and politics, female representations and patronage, issues regarding re-appropriation of sacred objects, and post-colonial discourse in the field of South and Southeast Asian Art.
A collaboration between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.
A part of the event is supported by Jai & Sugandha Hiremath – Hikal Ltd.
Auditorium, Visitors’ Centre