Akbar and his successors brought revolutionary changes to painting and sensual illustrations. From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art. Emperor Akbar patronised artists from Kashmir and Gujarat; Humayun brought two Persian painters to his court. For the first time painters‘ names were recorded in inscriptions. Some great painters of this period were Abd-us-SamadDasawanth and Basawan.
Beautiful illustrations are found on the pages of Baburnama and Akbarnama. Within a few years an integrated and dynamic styleresulted from the synthesis of Persian and Indian style and the independent style of Mughal painting was developed. Between 1562 and 1577 a series of nearly 1400 cloth paintings were produced representing the new style and were placed in the imperial studio. Akbar also encouraged the art of making portraits.
The art of painting reached its climax during the period of Jahangir who himself was a great painter and connoisseur of art. Artists began to use vibrant colours such as peacock blue and red and were able to give three dimensional effects to paintings. Mansur, Bishan Das and Manohar were the most gifted painters of Jahangir‘s time. Mansur had made an outstanding portrait of the artist AbulHasan and specialised in paintings of birds and animals.
Though Shah Jahan was more interested in architectural splendours, his eldest son DaraShikoh patronised painting like his gradfather. He preferred depicting natural elements like plants and animals in his painting. However withdrawal of royal patronage to painting under Aurangzeb led to the dispersal of artists to different places in the country.