In India, the monsoon is a mood with its own ambience. As the first rains fall, the searing heat lifts, the hills turn from brown to green, and the air, smells, and colors of the sky change.
Located in arid northwest India, in a region with only one perennial river, Mewar depended for its prosperity on annual monsoons. Tapping into the longing for rains, Udaipur painters celebrated the feeling of ebullient relief when the monsoon filled their city’s lakes and reservoirs.
Maharana Fateh Singh crossing a river during the monsoon evokes the mood of swelling rivers and drenching rain in an awe-inspiring valley. As lightning snakes across the sky, rain splashes on each horse, hill, and courtier. The painting memorializes an extensive inspection of the city’s water infrastructure that Maharana Fateh Singh and his courtiers undertook during the heavy monsoon of 1886.
Maharana Fateh Singh crossing a river during the monsoon
Shivalal, ca. 1893
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Sheet, 82.6 × 158.8 cm
The City Palace Museum, Udaipur, 2012.19.0038