Mogul School

Mogul School


a school of miniature painting, one of the major schools of medieval Indian painting. It developed at the court of the Great Moguls. The style of the Mogul school was influenced by local traditions, by Iranian and Middle Asian schools of miniature painting, and to some extent, by European painting and graphic art.

The early period of the Mogul school is associated with the work of foreign artists, such as Mir Sayyid Ali from Tabriz and Abd al-Samada from Shiraz, who were invited to India; in the second half of the 16th century a large group of artists worked under their supervision. Mogul miniatures belonging to the late 16th and early 17th centuries are characterized by a striving to faithfully follow the text being illustrated, authenticity of depiction, and an interest in revealing the human personality. The action-packed compositions include a multitude of figures arranged in distinct planes against a background depicting an unrealistic, decorative landscape (for example, the illustrations for Babur-name, late 16th century, Museum of Art of the Eastern Peoples, Moscow).

Miniature painting gradually became less of an illustrative genre, and gradations of tone were introduced. In the first quarter of the 17th century the portrait became the most popular form in miniature painting. In these portraits emphatic individualization, sometimes revealing the psychological make-up of the person being portrayed, contrasts with the formalized stylization of the composition. In the second half of the 17th century, the Mogul miniaturists turned to depictions of flowers, animals, and birds; these representations are particularly accurate. Mogul miniatures of the 18th century are marked by severity, lifelessness, and a lack of realism. The traditions of the Mogul school were adopted by miniaturists of the northern regions of India and Deccan.


Miniatiury rukopisi “Babur-name.” Moscow, 1960. [Written and compiled by S. Tiuliaev.] [Grek, T. V.] Indiiskie miniatiury XVI-XVII vv [album]. Moscow, 1971.
Barret, D., and B. Gray. Painting of India. Geneva, 1963.