Prince of Morvi, painted photograph


The tradition of painted photography was a syncretic visual culture that began in India in the 19th century, at almost the same time as photography made its debut here. This genre became extremely popular, particularly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, fuelled partly by a dissatisfaction with black and white photographs and partly by rising unemployment among traditional miniature painters, who quickly adapted to this new medium. The process of painting photographs varied from adding touch-ups on glass negatives, to directly applying colour onto the printed image, to coating the entire surface with oil paint. An interesting sub-genre born in India was of ‘Manorath paintings’. Paintings of Lord Krishna in the Shrinathji avatar, complete with altar and a priest, were combined with photographic collages of the patrons and painted over. With the painted element an integral part of the overall composition, these photographs have a distinctive identity in India’s visual culture.

Prince of Morvi
Lafayette Studios
Hand-Painted Photographic Print
(with mount) H: 51 cm x W: 35 cm; (without mount) H: 37.5 cm x W: 26 cm
Accession No.