National Museum Institute
In New Delhi

Price on request

Important information

  • Master
  • New delhi

Important information

Where and when

Starts Location
On request
New Delhi
National Museum, Janpath, , Delhi, India
See map

Course programme


Semester I (Foundation Course)

1) Introduction to the History of Indian Art

The course surveys the major landmarks in Indian art history and traces the significant developments in the architectural, sculptural and painting traditions from their early beginnings to the modern period. Selective and significant sites and schools of art and architecture shall be introduced in this course along with the major art movements.

2) Introduction to Museology

The course aims to acquaint students with the fundamentals of the role and functions of museums from their historical beginnings to the present, the philosophy and multifarious nature of museums including emerging trends in Museology in the form of New Museology that sees museums "beyond walls."

3) Introduction to Conservation Science

Museum collections and heritage sites form a basis for the study of art history in a substantial manner. With time, these collections and sites do undergo various types of deterioration necessitating their conservation. Though a specialized science, certain aspects of conservation such as preventive conservation can be implemented by professionals other than conservators. The course will cover basics relating to the conservation of cultural heritage. The emphasis will be on preventive conservation but curative aspects of conservation shall also be briefly discussed.

4) Art History: Historiography & Methodology

This course will discuss in-depth, the basic premises, key concepts, definite principles and techniques that help comprehend art history as a discipline. Methods of art historical enquiry shall be discussed in their historiographical framework. The course surveys the ways in which Indian art has been understood during the past two centuries. Paradigmatic shifts in methodological approaches and global awareness of Indian art, beginning with colonial orientalists to more recent scenarios shall be examined in an effort to understand the impact of past histories on the discipline. Art historical methodologies and interpretative approaches in the west shall be briefly introduced to examine their relevance to Indian Art History.
* All courses offered in the Foundation Course are compulsory.

Semester II

1) Early Indian Art

The course begins with Mauryan court art and folk art and then considers the art of Bharhut, Sanchi, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. It then includes the study of the rock-cut caves of western India: Bhaja, Bedsa and Karle. It deals with the two schools of art of the Kushana period, namely, Gandhara and Mathura. The course covers the salient features of Gupta art and the early artistic traditions of Kashmir and eastern India.

2) Ancient Art of Egypt & Mesopotamia

Heliocentric Egypt and theocratic City States of Mesopotamia produced regional variations in art, architecture and seals. Religious and funerary art include the earliest books with vignettes. Style, iconography and writing in pictograms reveal both convergences and divergences. An extensive pantheon and communication through symbols is common while the unique style of monotheistic Amarna Period in Egypt is an exception. Imperial art of Assyrian and Persia derived much from conquered Egypt.

3) Architecture & Sculpture of Early Medieval North India

This course traces the early beginnings and development of temple architecture and sculpture from the fifth through the end of the thirteenth century A.D. It is structured around in-depth case studies of four or five representative regional northern Indian temple types and addresses structural, empirical, iconographical, stylistic, and ideological issues in temple studies. Notably the Maru-Gurjara region represented by the Jaina and Brahmanical temples of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Kalinga style as seen in the temples of Orissa, the styles and sub-styles prevalent in Central India under the patronage of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, Chedis, Chandellas, and Kacchapaghatas, and the temples of Kashmir shall be discussed.

4) Indian Architecture (High Medieval Period)

The course focuses on select Indo-Islamic monuments and Rajput & Mughal forts, palaces, havelis, and step-wells of the high medieval period in relation to their cultural, political, socio-economic, and aesthetic contexts. Particular emphasis shall be given to the architectural traditions that prevailed under the patronage of the Deccan Sultanates. It shall discuss the religious and courtly architecture of the Vijayanagara and Nayaka periods in South India. The approach emphasizes past and recent methodological concerns in understanding particularities of form and also in situating architecture as integral to cultural histories.

5) Buddhist Art of Central Asia

Central Asia- the crossroad for the culture of many oriental people was the focal point of influence from Greece, Persia, India and China. In its core area it has areas traditionally known as Western Central Asia and Eastern Central Asia. The course focuses upon the Buddhist art of these regions and its relationship to the artistic traditions of Ladakh, Tibet and Nepal.

Semester III

1) Greek Art

The course begins with Bronze Age Greek Art: Minoan and Mycenaean frescoes and Thera as also the palaces of this period, for example, Knossos. It deals with sculpture: Kouros and Kore of the Archaic period, as also Hellenic and Hellenistic sculpture in relation to its diffusion in the art of the Gandharan region. It deals with the three Orders of temples: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian and major temples like the Parthenon, Zeus temple of Olympia etc. The course deals with ancient Greek pottery: Proto Geometric, black figure painting, red figure painting etc. It also focuses on Greek mosaics and the evolution of Greek theatre.

2) Imperial Art of Rome to Proto-Renaissance

Course includes Imperial monuments and religious architecture, portraits in sculpture, engraved gems, coins, mosaic, and mummy-boards. Roman painting and mosaic from villas and public places lead to conceptual art of early Christianity in the necropolis of Vatican, catacombs, mausoleums and sculptured sarcophagi. Byzantine architecture and mosaic are studied in Ravenna, Constantinople and the Mosque of Cardova in Spain. France fostered Romanesque and Gothic architecture, sculptures, stain glass windows, ivory carving and illuminated manuscripts and produced art of reliquary, metal craft and enameling. Birth of humanism and realism in France and Flanders is characterized by the late medieval paintings of the Limburg Brothers and the Van Eycks.

3) Architecture & Sculpture of South India (c. 6th-13th A.D.)

The course involves a contextual understanding of the visual culture of early medieval South India in the light of various indigenous and extraneous impulses that manifested in the art of the period. A selective cross-section of narrative and iconic sculpture and temple architecture shall be studied in relation to their structural, ritualistic, stylistic, iconological, and socio-political significance. Notably, rock-cut and structural temples and associated sculpture in stone and bronze created during the reigns of the Western Chalukyas of Badami, the Rashtrakutas, the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Later Chalukyas, and the Hoysalas shall be studied.

4) Art of Renaissance

The course gives an introduction to painting and sculpture in Europe during the Renaissance period, ca. 1400-1600, focusing on important individual artists and on cities that were major centres of artistic production. Developments such as the rise of landscape painting, printmaking and portraiture are also considered. The course raises important themes to do with the rising status of the artist, the role of patrons, and the wider client base for different types of art. Religious and theological issues are central to the course, since the challenge of the Reformation to the power and dominance of the Roman Catholic Church had a profound impact on the art of the period. The course also gives an insight into the historiography of the Renaissance, questioning many traditional stereotypes. It thus provides a methodological framework that can also be applied to the study of non-western art.

5) Art of South & Southeast Asia

The course surveys developments in art and architecture in the region (excluding India) with particular emphasis on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The objective is to understand ideological and artistic parallelisms in an Asian context, and also to examine the historical and cultural ties with India in terms "inspiration," "dialogue," and "influence".

Semester IV

1) Indian Painting

The course includes the in-depth study of ancient and medieval Indian painting. The ancient period deals with the Buddhist mural paintings of Ajanta and Bagh. This is followed by the tradition of mural painting in South India that has been documented at sites such as Badami, Kanchipuram, Panamalai, Tanjore, and Sittanavasal. The course covers the study of Western Indian (Jaina) manuscript painting and Eastern Indian (Pala) painting. The course also involves the study of Mughal paintings, Rajasthani paintings with special emphasis on the significant schools like Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh, Bikaner, and Jaipur; and Pahari paintings with special emphasis on Basohli, Guler, and Kangra schools.

2) Modern Art in India

Kalighat and Company Painting and Chitpur prints evidence transformations taking place in India, while Raja Ravi Varma's Academic Realism and the Orientalism of the Bengal School of painting are two faces of Nationalism. Movements in Modern Art in the West are compared to works by pioneers of Modern Art in India. Influence of folk and tantric art is evidenced by certain artists while transition period of Independence introduced new aesthetics. Concept of artist as individual and Internationalism spans the 20th century but the shift to 'indigenise' in the 1970's is a continuing trend. Social commentary and religious sentiment, abstraction and ornamentation, Magic Realism and Surrealism coexist with Video-Art and Installations. The role of Art Galleries, Curators, Critics, Auction Houses and On-Line Sellers as Gate-Keepers and Taste-Makers of Contemporary Art in India will be assessed by students to gain practical knowledge.

3) Aesthetics and Art Theory

Aesthetic theories, texts, and art practice, shastric concepts and precepts, and their role in the understanding of Indian art are critically examined. The inter-disciplinary nature of Indian art is reviewed by placing art works in their literary contexts. The course includes topics such as: an introduction to the nature of art and aesthetic experience; world-view and artistic expression; aesthetics in a historical perspective; the writings of important thinkers: Bharata's Natyashastra, Prachina and Navina schools of Sanskrit poetics, Dhvani and Rasa in the writings of Anandavardhana and Abhinavagupta; canons of Indian art and their relationship to art practice; poetic metaphors in Indian sculpture and painting; and an introduction to Islamic aesthetics.

4) Art of China & Japan

The course on China will cover the following topics- Bronze age(18th to 11th cent B.C); Influence of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism on art and life of Chinese people; spread of Buddhist art - sculpture from 5th cent. to 12th/13th cent.; Dunhuang art; Chinese mythology; Landscape painting; selected works of famous artists to be studied; as well as Ch'an Buddhism and paintings inspired by it. Art of Japan- Archaic period-pre-Buddhist art and Shinto; introduction of Buddhism and Buddhist sculpture and painting till early medieval period; Shinto and Buddhist amalgamation and art; Zen art inspired from China; medieval scroll painting; Momoyama screeen painting and Ukiyo-e prints from Edo period.

5) Tribal & Folk Arts of India

The cultural diversity of India is reflected in the folklore, music and dance that accompany image in metal, woodcarving, terracotta, textile and other mediums. The course includes rock art and ritual paintings of various regions with reference to their varied functions. Radical intervention and challenges that confront folk artists in contemporary condition leads to an assessment of NGOs (Dastkari Kendra, Dakshin Chitra etc.) who undertake social work, research, conservation and promotion of the folk and tribal art of India. Certain other concerns are inbuilt into the course: What kind of interdependence exists between institutions of collecting and methodological goals of art history and anthropology? Analogical methods and semantics of form encourage comparison with Pre-Columbian, Native American, Oceanic, Australian and African art.

Note: In addition to 13 taught courses, the students must complete two Seminars and one Dissertation on specific areas of research interest under the guidance of the faculty members.

Additional information

Students per class: 25