The Parsi community in India is one of the smallest – yet their contribution to Indian society has been exceptional. For long, they have been associated with business and philanthropy, but the artistic legacy of Parsis too – has been commendable and inspiring. Pestonji Bomanji was the first portrait painter of the Bombay School, known for his portrayal of Parsi daily and religious life. In collaboration with the CSMVS Mumbai, we bring you this painting, titled ‘Feeding the Parrot’ by the painter.
Can you piece this masterpiece together?
# puzzle pieces might just be on top of each other – look carefully!
# make sure you have observed the painting before you start. In case you need to see the image again, scroll down or hit the picture icon on the bottom left
# hint: we found it easy to piece the face of the lady together at the beginning!
# Share your finished piece with us using #MuseumJigsaw and tag @theheritagelab & @CSMVSMumbai on Instagram/Twitter!
About the painting : Feeding the Parrot
An amalgamation of the traditional and cosmopolitan is the essence of Parsi culture. This painting is a reflection of the Parsi ability to connect the ‘Indian’ with the global. In terms of technique (look at the way the light makes the scene come alive, and the accuracy of the glow on the lady’s face) the painting adheres to European trends of the time, yet the setting is very “Indian”. Pestonji Bomanji was known to use his family members as models for his paintings. The lady feeding the parrot in this painting is his wife Jiloobai, the child clinging to her could be his daughter. This painting was probably executed at the Ajanta caves, when Bomanji was working on a project on copying the murals. On the top right of the painting, you can spot an impression of the Ajanta frescoes.
Pestonji Bomanji (1851-1938) joined the newly-opened Sir J. J. School of Art in 1864 and studied sculpture under Lockwood Kipling, (the father of the renowned writer Rudyard Kipling). He then studied painting under John Griffith and worked on a project with him to copy the Ajanta murals.
His work has often been compared to the work of Dutch realists like Rembrandt and Vermeer. He went on to exhibit widely within India and outside and won several accolades for his works.
Take a look at more paintings from the CSMVS collection : on Instagram!
Fun Fact: Did you know, Pestonji Bomanji’s paintings at the CSMVS are among the Museum Director’s Favourites!