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Nur Jahan Holding a Portrait of Emperor Jahangir

June 30, 1627
Jahangir 1605–1627

Nur Jahan Holding a Portrait of Emperor Jahangir



Nur Jahan Holding a Portrait of Emperor Jahangir c. 1627 Bishandas (Indian) Northern India, Mughal court, 17th century Gum tempera and gold on paper Painting only: 13.6 x 6.4 cm (5 3/8 x 2 1/2 in.); Page: 30 x 22.1 cm (11 13/16 x 8 11/16 in.) Gift in honor of Madeline Neves Clapp; Gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon by exchange; Bequest of Louise T. Cooper; Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund; From the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection 2013.325 DID YOU KNOW? Jahangir died at 58, outliving his younger brothers by about 25 years. DESCRIPTION The empress Nur Jahan, Jahangir’s favorite wife, exercised influence in affairs of state. By all accounts, including those of Jahangir himself and European visitors to the Mughal court, she was a remarkable and brilliantly capable woman. This painting may have been made shortly after the death of Jahangir. He appears aged in his portrait, and it echoes a similar composition from another painting in which Jahangir holds a painted portrait of his deceased father, Akbar. PROVENANCE ?-1969 (Maggs Brothers, London, UK, sold to Ralph Benkaim) 1969-2013 Ralph Benkaim [1914-2001] and Catherine Glynn Benkaim [b. 1946], Beverly Hills, CA, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art 2013- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH CITATIONS Beach, Milo Cleveland, Stuart Cary Welch, and Glenn D. Lowry. The Grand Mogul: Imperial Painting in India, 1600-1660. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1978. cat. no. 57 Vaughan, Philippa. "Begams of the House of Timur and the Dynastic Image." In Humayun's Garden Party: Princes of the House of Timur and Early Mughal Painting, 117-134. Edited by Sheila R. Canby. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1994. Mentioned and Reproduced: p. 132, fig. 13 Komaroff, Linda, and Sheila Blair. Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2011. cat. no. 59, p. 177 Mace, Sonya Rhie, Mohsen Ashtiany, Catherine Glynn, Pedro Moura Carvalho, Marcus Fraser, and Ruby Lal. Mughal Paintings: Art and Stories: the Cleveland Museum of Art. London: D Giles Limited, 2016. Reproduced: cat. no. 54, pp. 216, 303 Lal, Ruby. Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan. New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Company, 2018. Reproduced: color plate after p. 142 Rice, Yael and Sonja Drimmer. "How Scientists Use and Abuse Portraiture" Hyperallergic, December 11, 2020, EXHIBITION HISTORY The Grand Mogul. Sterliing and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, MA; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Asia House Gallery, New York, NY (1978-1979). Main Asian Rotation (Gallery 245). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (December 31, 2013-June 30, 2014). Art and Stories from Mughal India. The Cleveland Museum of Art (organizer) (July 31-October 23, 2016).

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Ismail Mazari

average rating is null out of 5

Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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