Taj Mahal by Moonlight

Taj Mahal by Moonlight

Object Title:

Taj Mahal by Moonlight




Charles W. Bartlett


British, 1860 - 1940


Oil on canvas


30 1/2 x 41 in. (77.5 x 104.1 cm)

Credit Line:

Gift of Anna Rice Cooke, 1927 (4969)

Object Number:



One of the world's most famous buildings, the Taj Mahal was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631). An unprecedented architectural achievement, the complex was built over a period of two decades, from 1632 to about 1653. The materials used for the project were imported from around the known world, with white marble from Rajasthan in northwestern India and precious stones from as far away as China and Tibet. Like most Mughal architecture, the basic structure derives from Persian models, but the style is syncretic, incorporating a wide variety of Muslim and Indian sources. It serves as a mausoleum for both Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan. By the 19th century, the complex had fallen into disrepair, but several years before Bartlett traveled to India, it was extensively restored by the British colonial government. The work was completed in 1908. Consequently, Bartlett was able to see the monument in its full splendor, as reflected in his numerous paintings, drawings, and prints of the subject. This painting was made nearly a decade after Bartlett's trip to India, showing the enduring influence of the Taj Mahal on his artistic oeuvre. (2009)