Prince Murad Bakhsh with holy men and attendants

Folio from the Saint Petersburg Album

Painting & Calligraphy

Folio: H. 44cm; W.30.2cm Painting: H. 23.9cm; W. 15cm

This folio was once part of the Saint Petersburg Album, assembled in Iran in the mid-18th century and containing many important Mughal and Deccani paintings taken from the Mughal royal library by Nadir Shah after the sack of Delhi in 1739. Like the majority of the folios in the album, the present example has calligraphy on the reverse by the great Persian master ‘Imad al-Hasani and borders signed by the Persian artists Muhammad Baqir and Muhammad Hadi, the latter dated AH1170 (1756–57). The Mughal prince in this vivid painting is identifiable as Murad Bakhsh, the youngest son of Shah Jahan, aged in his mid-teens. The three holy men, despite the very realistic faces exquisitely rendered by Govardhan, probably represent venerated religious figures from past history rather than contemporary sages from the time of Murad Bakhsh’s life.

© The Al Thani Collection