to main navigation

to content

to area navigation

Stories in miniatures

The collection of Indian Painting in the Kupferstich-Kabinett

3 March to 5 June 2017
An exhibition of the Europe/World research programme spanning several collections as part of the project Dresden • Europe • World, Kupferstich-Kabinett at the Residenzschloss

The exhibition, which was developed in cooperation with the CSMVS in Mumbai, features two virtually unknown collections of Indian miniatures from the holdings of the Kupferstich-Kabinett.

The core of both collections consists of miniatures from the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, which mostly originated on the high plateau of the Indian subcontinent, the Deccan. The first part mainly shows portraits of famous Indian rulers, which were collected in albums (muraqqa), but also darbar scenes (i.e. audiences with the emperor), festive celebrations, lion hunts, scenes from the women’s quarters in the royal residence (zenana), depictions of darshan (“a glimpse”) of spiritual masters and even humorous portraits of ascetics. The compositions of those scenes follow a complex logic in which observation, content and self-referential reflection on the medium become interlaced.

Thus, the exhibition offers an exciting viewing experience and gives the viewer the chance to connect the objects found in the displayed miniatures with arts and crafts objects on loan from renowned collections. The specific techniques of paper manufacturing, writing, drawing and tracing, together with results of the recent restoration, are also addressed.

Ausstellungsansicht - Bild öffnet sich in einer Vergrößerungsansicht.

The two groups of miniatures arrived in Dresden at two different times. The first came to Dresden during the reign of August the Strong (1677-1733), Regent of Saxony. The second entered the collection during the 19th century, as a bequest from August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), the founder of the first university chair in Indology.

Against the backdrop of this collection history, the beholder not only gains insight into the courtly world of motives and the workshop tradition on the Indian peninsula in the 17th and 18th century, but also the changing reception of those works of art in Germany at two distinct moments in time.

  • workshop

    12 to 15 May 2017
    Secrets of Indian miniature paintings with master craftsman, S. Shakir Ali

    The workshop gives insight into the technique of painting Indian miniatures along with technical and theoretical explanations. Participants will get a chance to handle Indian pigments, binders, samples, brushes etc. thus learning the art and processes of Indian miniature painting. Also, participants will have an opportunity to watch master craftsman, S. Shakir Ali (Padma Shri Awardee) at work, as he paints. Mr. Ali specializes in the Mughal style of painting which is thought to be one of the pivotal points of visual history of India.

    Fri., 12th; Sat. 13th May; Sun. 14th, 2017, 10:00 – 13:00; and from 14:30 onwards

    admission: regular-20 €, reduced-12 € (incl. of material and entry ticket for the exhibition

    Registration required until 10 May, 2017 by email to

  • lectures

    12 May 2017
    Hans-Nadler Saal, Residenzschloss
    admission free

    6:30 p.m.
    Introduction to Indian Miniature Paintings
    by Vandana Prapanna. Sr. Curator, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai

    7:15 p.m.
    Christian motifs in Indian miniature paintings     
    by Ursula Weekes, Associate Lecturer, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

  • Film

    13 May 2017
    Jodhaa Akbar
    (in Hindi with German subtitles)

    3:30–7:15 p.m. (15 mins. short break)
    Hans-Nadler Saal, Residenzschloss
    admission free

    The Mughal School of miniature painting flourished under the patronage of Akbar from 1560 AD. This film, Jodhaa Akbar is a 2008 Indian historical romance film co written, produced and directed by Indian Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker. The film centers on the romance between the Mughal Emperor Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan, and the Rajasthani Hindu Princess Jodhaa who becomes his wife, played by Aishwarya Rai.

  • Concert

    24 May 2017
    Concert and Curator Tour

    5.30 p.m.
    Curator tour with Sr. Curator: Petra Kuhlmann–Hodick and Project Conservator: Olaf Simon
    Meeting point: Exhibition Entrance, Kupferstich-Kabinett, Residenzschloss
    admission: Exhibition entry ticket/Concert ticket required

    7 p.m.
    An Evening of Classical Indian Music
    Join Partho Sarothy, an international Sarod (a lute used in classical North Indian music) maestro and Ashis Paul, a Tabla (a pair of small hand drums used in Indian music) master for an evening of Ragas (classical Indian melodies).
    venue: Study Room (Kupferstich-Kabinett), Residenzschloss
    admission: regular- 16 €; reduced- 12 €. Tickets can be bought in advance and until 6 p.m. , 24th May 2017