Collection: Mir Kalan Khan

Little is known about the Indian painter Mir Kalan Khan (ca. 1730-1770). He was thought to have been born in Delhi around 1730, a time of political turmoil for the city. At a young age, Khan was active in the Delhi court of Mohammad Shah, which was sacked by Persian Nadir Shah in 1739.

Like many other artists in Delhi at the time, Khan sought refuge in the rapidly evolving cultural center of Lucknow. While his experience with Delhi's unstable politics may have informed some of Khan's darker work, the artist explored a broad range of subjects, from saints and mystics living in isolation to detailed and expansive landscapes. Particularly adept at capturing light, Khan's earliest signed work depicts a night scene with light shed from a lamp held by a hunter dressed in a skirt of leaves. He illuminated other paintings with unusual light sources such as saints shown at a fire or in moonlight.

Lovers in a Landscape was influenced by the rich cultural environment he experienced in Lucknow. The painting reveals his more panoramic style with bold use of color and themes drawn from the multi-ethnic convergence of ideas so prevalent during Lucknow's golden era.