19th century Moti Masjid painting for auction
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19th century Moti Masjid painting for auction

A 19th century painting of Moti Masjid auctioned at Sotheby’s. A large painting of Delhi’s Moti Masjid by Russian master Vasili Vasilyevich Vereshchagin lead the auction of Russian artwork.

art and culture Updated: Nov 02, 2011 00:54 IST

A slice of Delhi’s history went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in New York, held last week. The painting — Pearl Mosque at Delhi, 1876-79 — is regarded one of the best works in the artist’s India series.

Measuring 13ftX16ft, the painting was painted by Vereshchagin in late 19th century. The work — one of the artist’s largest works — was estimated at $3-5 million. It is part of a series of realistic depictions of numerous monuments, which he painted after a two-year visit to India.

Vereshchagin’s progress on Pearl Mosque at Delhi was interrupted by the Balkan War in 1877, during which he served as a volunteer with the Russian Imperial Army.
“The Pearl Mosque represents pure painterly perfection. For an artist made famous by his provocative images of war, the work showcases Vereshchagin’s supreme
versatility,” Sonya Bekkerman, head of Sotheby’s Russian Paintings department, said in New York.

About the subject
The Pearl Mosque is located inside the Red Fort in the Capital. It is known to have been built by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb in 1660-1670 for his personal use. The mosque was used by the women of the seraglio and is no longer open to public. This painting is considered one of the most important works of Vereshchagin to appear for auction in 100 years.

First Published: Nov 01, 2011 19:06 IST