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Lecture: Rudyard Kipling and the Painted Palaces of Bundi

June 5, 2014
Price Auditorium
Free with museum admission

The Friends of Indian and Islamic Art welcome Milo Beach, art historian and former director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art, as he discusses the early palaces and wall paintings of the Rajasthani state of Bundi through the writings of a 22-year-old Rudyard Kipling exploring India in 1887.

Rudyard Kipling, then an aspiring young journalist exploring India, arrived in the isolated small Rajasthani state of Bundi on the back of a simple village cart in 1887. Bundi has changed little in the years since, and the early palaces and wall-paintings that Kipling saw are well preserved today. Though among the finest monuments in India, they remain little known. Kipling's account helps bring to life their historical and artistic importance.

Milo Cleveland Beach, a museum director, teacher, and scholar of Indian painting, has written, lectured and organized exhibitions internationally on paintings from Rajasthan and the Mughal court. He held curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, before taking a position in 1969 at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he served as professor and chairman of the Department of Art. In 1984, he moved to Washington, DC, to head the new Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, eventually becoming director of both that museum and the Freer Gallery of Art.

Dr. Beach retired in 2001 and devotes his time now to research and lecturing. His most recent books include King of the World—The Padshahnama: An Imperial Mughal Manuscript in the Royal Library, Windsor; Bagta and Chokha—Master Artists at Devgarh; Masters of Indian Painting (edited jointly with Eberhard Fischer and B. N. Goswamy); an expanded and updated edition of The Imperial Image—Paintings from the Mughal Court; and the forthcoming The Bundi Wall-Paintings in Rajasthan.

Ceiling of the Badal Mahal, Palace of Rao Bhoj, Bundi (Rajasthan)