A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery | Gallery 28

Around 1700, artists in Udaipur (a court in northwest India) began creating immersive paintings that express the moods (bhava) of the city’s palaces, lakes, and mountains. These large works and their emphasis on lived experience constituted a new direction in Indian painting.

With dazzling paintings on paper and cloth—many on public view for the first time—the exhibition reveals the environmental, political, and emotional contexts in which the new genre emerged. A Splendid Land explores the unique visual strategies that artists developed to communicate emotions, depict places, and celebrate water resources.

The exhibition is organized as a journey that begins at Udaipur’s center and continues outward: first its lakes and lake palaces, then to the city, onward to the surrounding countryside, and finally to the cosmos. A side trip immerses visitors in the emotions surrounding the monsoon, the annual rains so crucial to Mewar’s prosperity. Throughout, a soundscape by the renowned filmmaker Amit Dutta invites audiences to fully sense—and not just see—the moods of these extraordinary places and paintings.

A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur will also be on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Summer 2023.

A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur is part of the 2023 programming marking the 100th anniversary of the National Museum of Asian Art’s founding. Learn more about our centennial celebrations. #TheNext100

A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in collaboration with the City Palace Museum, Udaipur administered by the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation. The exhibition celebrates the Centennial of the National Museum of Asian Art and the 75th year of India’s Independence.

The National Museum of Asian Art gratefully acknowledges support from members of the A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur Leadership Council.


Exhibition Co-chairs

Farhad and Mary Ebrahimi
Dr. Vijay and Ms. Nanda Anand

Exhibition Benefactors

Nancy Swift Furlotti (Pettit Foundation)
Nancy Chang Lee

Exhibition Sponsors

Dr. Susan L. Beningson and Steve Arons
The Honorable and Mrs. William A. Nitze
Iris and Lawrence Miller
Dr. Bruce Chalker and Dr. Polly A. Penhale
Ms. Elizabeth Gomersall
Ashok and Stuti Kaveeshwar
Jane Washburn Robinson

Additional support is provided by the Elizabeth Moynihan Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Endowment, The Ashok and Marion Deshmukh Endowment for South Asia, Smithsonian’s Scholarly Studies, and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.