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Manaku of Guler

Manaku of Guler

The Life and Work of Another Great Indian Painter From a Small Hill State

By (author) B.N. Goswamy


  • Brings together two uncommonly gifted individuals: an 18th century Indian painter and a 21st century art historian. The fruit of this collaboration across time between painter and art historian makes for compelling reading
  • A work of an art historian who has ferreted out, from a virtually anonymous tradition, information on individual painters, and, after bringing them out of obscurity, has been writing on them with rare insights and warmth
  • Story of a Lesser Known Pahari Painter with immense talent
Full Description

This work centers upon Manaku of Guler – older brother of the greatly celebrated Nainsukh – reconstructing whatever little is known of his life, but following closely his artistic journey. Manaku came from an obscure little town in the hills of northern India – home to his singularly talented family – and yet his vision knew almost no limits. Endowed with soaring imagination and great painterly skills, this man – with a name that literally means a ruby, whose glow keeps hinting at an inner fire – was capable of painting giant rings of time upon timeless waters, envisioning the world of gods and demons, littered with cosmic battles and earthly triumphs. At least three great series were painted by Manaku: the Siege of Lanka which took forward the narrative of the Ramayana from the point where his father, the gifted Pandit Seu, had left it; the Gita Govinda and the Bhagavata Purana. Every single folio that has survived and is at present accessible – the number comes close to five hundred – from these series finds a place in this uncommonly rich volume. For the second time – Nainsukh of Guler was the first (also published by Niyogi Books) – Professor Goswamy looks here at the entire body of work of a great Indian artist from the past.

About the Author

B.N. Goswamy, distinguished art historian, is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Panjab University, Chandigarh. His work covers a wide range and is regarded, especially in the area of Indian painting, as having influenced much thinking. He has been the recipient of many honors, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, the Rietberg Award for Outstanding Research in Art History, the JDR III Fellowship, the Mellon Senior Fellowship, and, from the President of India, the Padma Shri (1998) and the Padma Bhushan (2008). Apart from the Panjab University, Professor Goswamy has taught, as Visiting Professor, at major universities across the world, and has been responsible for significant exhibitions of Indian art at international venues, including Paris, San Francisco, Zurich, New Delhi, San Diego, and New York. He is the author of over 25 books on Indian art and culture, including: Pahari Painting; The Family as the Basis of Style (Mumbai, 1968); Painters at the Sikh Court (Wiesbaden,1975); A Place Apart: Paintings from Kutch (with A.L. Dallapiccola; New Delhi,1983); The Essence of Indian Art (San Francisco,1986); Wonders of a Golden Age: Painting at the Courts of the Great Mughals (with E. Fischer; Zurich,1987); Pahari Masters: Court Painters of Northern India (with E. Fischer; Zurich,1992); Indian Costumes in the Calico Museum of Textiles (Ahmedabad,1993); Nainsukh of Guler: A great Indian Painter from a small Hill State (Zurich and New Delhi, 1997); Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting (with C. Smith; San Diego, 2005); and, more recently, The Spirit of Indian Painting: Close Encounters with 101 Great Works (New Delhi and London, 2014, 2016) and Pahari Paintings - The Horst Metzger Collection in the Museum Rietberg (with E. Fischer; Zurich and New Delhi).

Niyogi Books
17th Apr 2018
USA & Canada
9.65 in x 12.11 in
512 Pages
565 color, 80 b&w
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