(Last Updated on : 29/04/2013)
Abu al-Hasan was a painter during the Mughal period in India. Jahangir was the Mughal ruler during that time. Abu al-Hasan originally belonged to Afghanistan. It was considered 'the city with an artistic tradition'. He was the son of Aqa Reza of Hera. Emperor Jahangir took the initiative to train Abu al-Hasan in his spacious studios and workshops. Soon he excelled his father and his employer. As an acknowledgement to his talent, Jahangir conferred him the title Nadir-uz-Saman ("Wonder of the Age").
Thus Abu al-Hasan became the royal painter at the 'Darbar' of Jahangir. He was bestowed the task of documenting events of the imperial court. This documentation resulted in striking portraits. Not many of Abu al-Hasan's paintings lasted, but those that distinguish him as the artist, shows that he had also worked on a varied subjects, comprising some day-to-day scenes.
"Squirrels in a Plane Tree" is the most famous painting created by him. Today he is unanimously associated with this painting. The painting adorns the British Library. It is regarded as a 'masterful depiction of animal posture and movement'. Such a painting as it was, it could only have been deduced from direct observation. The picture portrays European squirrels, unknown in India during that time. His work indicates that Jahangir's zoo may have held a few of those animals. As an alternative to the fact it is also believed that on one of his travels Abu al-Hasan may have accompanied Jahangir. But the signature on the painting is perplexing, as it is signed as Nadir al-Asr ("Miracle of the Age"), which is the title of Ustad Mansur. But the style of the painting decidedly does not match with Ustad Mansur's style. But there remains a possiblity that both painters collaborated on this painting.