INDIAN MINIATURES : Schools of Paintings

If you have not heard much about the art of painting practiced by the ancient, medieval and subsequent Indian artists, you are not in minority. Most of the budding artists and art lovers believe that the art of painting is what the European artists have painted since renaissance. and under the glow of these master artists, the art of those who lived on the other pieces of Earth have been ignored. But the modern art-lovers have found interest in the forgotten regions,too. Indian Painting, and the various schools of painting flourished in India, is one of these new-found attractions of the art-lovers. The most charming aspect of Indian art is miniature painting.

Radha and Krishna, and Sakhis playing Holi

Miniature Paintings style had evolved in India. It was essentially an art revolving around the courts of rulers, getting sponsorship especially from the Mughal Emperors and the Rajput Kings. Miniature art carried with it the artistic influence of past cultures, too. Materials used by these artists were acquired locally.

The miniature artists depicted their art on paper, ivory articles, wooden furnitures, leather and marble. They used even hand-made cloth and walls as their canvases, conveying reality beyond specific vantage point, employing multiple perspectives.

Here are some important schools of paintings which flourished in India from the period of sixteenth to nineteenth century. These paintings depict history of Indian culture and people's lifestyle during medieval period.

The Mughal Art in India can be broadly divided into four phases. The Mughals - descendants of Timur and Genghiz Khan felt strong cultural ties to the Persian world. So they had imported the strong elements of the Persian paintings into Indian culture. Thus the first phase of the Mughal Miniatures in India, which started during the rule of the first Mughal Emperor Babur, had strong resemblance with the Persian miniatures.

The various kings and princes of Rajaputana were known for their love for music and paintings. They sponsored the miniature style of paintings that had been imported fromthe Persian school of miniature paintings. With the spread of Vaishnavism, in early Eighteenth Century, the Gita Govinda came to be regarded as a popular pictorial theme in various art centers like Rajasthan and Gujarat. During this period the Poems of Gita Govinda were extensively illustrated in Pahari Painting and other illustrations.

Kangra painting : This school of painting is pictorial art of the people living in the region of Himachal Pradesh, situated in northern part ofIndia. This area also is well-known for its beauty of Himalayan mountains. With the help of erstwhile princely states, the painting style of Kangra flourished in the years of mid eighteenth century.

The Phad painting is popular style of folk painting. The painting under this style is done on a piece of cloth. This is one of the painting styles practiced in northern India since ancient time. Thematically these paintings are depiction of deities and their stories, including the legends of rulers of Rajasthan.

Deccan Miniature : This school of painting that had flourished in the southern region of India was tagged as Deccan School of Miniature painting. These artists generally lived in the cities of Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Golconda, and Aurangabad. On seeing their work we can arrive at a consclusion that these painters were influenced by the style of the painters of Persian and Turkish style. However they had tried to synthesize the foreign styles with indigenous traditions. That had resulted in a charming tradition. We can see that the themes look like trademarks of the Deccan School of paintings.

Tanjore painting or Thanjavur painting are the art that is as old as fifteenth and seventeenth century. It was art of the people of south India living around City of Thanjavur, a city in Southern part of India. The language Tamil, spoken mainly in present day Tamilnadu state of India, and the art of Tamil culture occupy a major chunk of detail in the history of the civilization of India. Likewise in Eastern India, the school of Kalighat Painting is also very popular among the ordinary people and the art lovers.

Ragamala Painting : In Ragamala series of paintings, it remains an humble endeavour to explore the beauty of the ragas and how these melodious beauties are embedded in the colours of those paintings which are based on each raga. The subject of Lord Krishna and Radha, his lover were favourite amongst the Ragamala painters.

Basohli Painting: Basohli Paintings is also from the Himalayan range of mountains. Pahri Paintings, Kangra. Painting Mythology: these are the elements this style of painting depicts. (Image Courtey Wikimedia Commons)
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