Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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10 / The Natural World

Black Stork in a Landscape
Black Stork in a Landscape
Artist / Origin India, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Date ca. 1780
Material Watercolor on European paper
Medium: Painting
Dimensions H: 29 ¾ in . (75.6 cm.), W: 21 ½ in. (54.6 cm.)
Location The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Credit Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art and Rogers Fund

expert perspective

Romita RayAssistant Professor of Art History, Syracuse University

Black Stork in a Landscape

» India, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

expert perspective

Romita Ray Romita Ray Assistant Professor of Art History, Syracuse University

Company School artists, I think, actually all were trained in Indian techniques—they were all established artists already. And they do study, of course, also the European techniques. And each individual artist comes up with an individual hybrid style, so that’s the beauty of it—that they are trained in the Indian techniques, they are trained in the Indian methods of composition, whether it’s Mughal or otherwise, and then they are able to take that as well as adopt the European lens. And presumably they were shown prints or paintings that were available through the hands of their British patrons and they’re able to craft this new style, so to speak. So there’s this wonderful fusion of styles in their work.

Natural history subjects would range from plants to animals, basically. So you’ve got an interest in specimens of different types and, of course, the more exotic they are, the more interesting they are. It’s a huge subject insofar as not just the Company School, but also in terms of landscape painting in India when the British arrive and when other European artists are also there. And it’s a mixture of, shall we say, aesthetic pleasure as well as scientific scrutiny.” 

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