For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2003

India Viewed from Afar: The Fantastical Engravings of Bernard Picart

December 6, 2003–March 14, 2004
Works on Paper Gallery

Ganesha, Bernard Picart, Copperplate engraving, 1722

Bernard Picart
French, 1673-1733
Ganesha
Copperplate engraving, 1722

The Frenchman Bernard Picart (1673–1733) was one of the most famous engravers of his generation in Europe. His masterwork was a nine-volume publication entitled Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World (1722, 1728), which became widely known throughout Europe. His images of India in that book would shape the European imagination for generations, just as the imperialist enterprise was getting underway. Picart himself never traveled overseas, but he drew widely on earlier European sources and had access to a rare collection of imported Indian paintings. What did Picart "see" in India? How did Picart's particular vision suit his contemporary European audience? Planned as a companion exhibition to Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art, this special display of Picart's prints is curated by Robert J. Del Bontà, Ph.D. The engravings are all from a private West Coast collection.

This exhibition is supported by the University of Michigan Center for South Asian Studies.