Two of the most famous Moghul painters at that time were Kesu Das (active 1570–1590) and Manohar (active 1580–1620). It is highly probable that one of these two men in fact made the painting. Akbar would have put his best artists on the job to record the visit of important foreigners.
He encouraged his painters to incorporate new ideals of realism and perspective which he so admired in the new imported European paintings.
Akbar was also keen to stimulate religious debate; every Thursday night for many years learned debates and expositions were held in his court between scholars and holy men – Sunnis and Sufis, Shiahs, learned men from Khorasan, Iraq and Transoxiana, doctors, theologians, and even the odd philosopher thrown in for good measure. When Akbar heard that there were Christian missionaries in Goa he sent for them to liven up the debate, which is how they were invited to his court in the first place.32
Akbar was not averse to Christians. Lady Juliana, believed to be a sister of one of Akbar’s Armenian wives, was a doctor in the royal harem, which at its peak at Fatehpur Sikri, consisted of around five thousand women, of whom three hundred were his ‘real’ wives, guarded by an army of eunuchs. The Three Hares were definitely outnumbered.33