Maharaja Bhim Singh of Jodhpur

Maharaja Bhim Singh (r.1793-1803) of Jodhpur
with a saint

by Jodhpur court artist
circa 1780 CE

Gouache on paper
9.3 x 13 in. (23.5 x 33.1 cm.)

Maharaja Bhim Singh’s reign can be summed up as a contest for succession with his uncles and cousins. He seized Mehrangarh and declared himself as the ruler but soon surrendered and retired to his personal jagir at Sawana; very soon he once again regained his army, seized the fort and proclaimed himself ruler for the second time.

Maharaja Bhim Singh’s daughter was married to Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh of Jaipur and that lead to exchange of art, culture and aesthetics between the two kingdoms, however, no Jaipur impact can be seen on this painting.

In this portrait, Bhim Singh is shown visiting a priest and the meeting is depicted under a printed canopy. The priest is shown seated on a decorated carpet surrounded by cushions, resting against a bolster and is sniffing a flower while Maharaja is seated humbly in front of him. Stylistically this composition has a folksy verve, but the facial features are individualistic and delineated in Jodhpur’s characteristic style.