Robert J. Del Bontà is an independent scholar of South Asian art and culture. Since receiving his PhD (University of Michigan, 1978), he has curated many shows on Indian art and European art on India. “Strange and Wondrous” at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC, highlighted other aspects of European engravings relating to India from his collection. [November 2014]

Engraving India in 17th- and 18th-century Europe

Fig. 1. Jacob van Meurs, Matsjas of Matx autaer, d’eerste (Matsya avatar, the first) (1672), copperplate engraving, image 30 x 18, sheet 31 x 20 cm. From Olfert Dapper, Asia of Naukeurige beschryving van het rijk des Grooten Mogols, Amsterdam: Jacob van Meurs.

Only in the 17th century did Indian paintings begin to arrive in Europe in some numbers and engravers begin to copy them. These unfamiliar pictures aroused the interest of artists (Mughal miniatures were copied by Rembrandt and his contemporary Willem Schellinks) as well as scholars. Read More