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INDIAN PAINTINGS: Tanjore Paintings, Kalighat Painting, Hindu Mythological Depiction

Tanjore of Thanjavur painting is the ancient art of Tamilnadu region of South India. Kalighat Painting is done in Kolkata (Calcutta) reagion of Eastern India

Rama and Hanuman fighting Ravana, Ramayana

Tanjore painting or Thanjavur painting are the art that is as old as fifteenth and seventeenth century. It was the art of the people of south India living around City of Thanjavur 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.

The ART : The Tajore paintings are composed compactly and coloured vividly. More over they tend to be rich in surface. The artists of this style of painting demand skill from the artists. The paintings are done in stages. The base of the paintings is made of local cotton and the cloth is then pasted on a wooden panel. In final stages, the artist often use silver and gold, too, as the material to decorate the painting. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Kalighat Paintings

Theme: Indian Schools of Paintings. The Kalighat Paintings from Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The artwork of the artists who had resided around the area known a Kalighat in present day Kolkata (Calcutta) is known as ‘Kalighat paintings. These artists, due to historic reasons of the British people taking over the rule of this region, have migrated to this place. Thus the roots of these paintings are in the Bengal of nineteenth century.

Goddess Durga Killing Mahisasur (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons and Flickr)

These Kalighat Painters took the subjects of Gods and Goddess. Here the Goddess Durga, that is worshipped most in all over India, especially in Bengal during Durga Puja, is shown as killing the demon Mahisasur.

Subjects depicted and materials used in Kalighat Paintings

Mythological stories are the main source from which these artists of Tanjore painting draw their subjects. The incidences narrated in the epics of Hindu religion, the religious books like Mahabharat and Ramayan, are depicted mainly in Thanjavur paintings. The icon of religion, the gods and Goddesses or religious persons occupy the central part of the paintings. In the above paintings, the Lord Rama, believed as the Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is painted as fighting with the King of Lanka. The incidence is taken from the Hindu epic Ramayana.

The Kalighat painters took their subjects from the religion and the mythology, but they were perhaps the first lot of Indian artists who had started painting for their customers in all the strata of the life, including common men. In addition to the religious subjects they have honoured the various subjects taken from the social surrounding, too. They have tried to infuse the strong social themes and the social consciousness of the time in their paintings.

Though started in the nineteenth century, the Kalighat painting has reached recognition in during the turn of the century. From the early years of twentieth century, this art of painting is regarded as an inventive aesthetic movement in the Bengal region of India receiving more and more international attention.

The materials they used for accomplishing their art were very simple and easily available from the local area. They used simple paper and water colours to paint. Their paint brushes were made from the hair of squirrel and calf. The Kalighat style of paintings has four main characteristics: speaking and meaningful gestures of the figure painted, perfect and brush strokes carrying quality and the linear economy. These painters have taken social aspects like the changed lifestyle of the urban class of the people and the native villagers. In their paintings, these artists tried sending messages to the mass of people to remain away from certain social evils like drinking and the company of unchaste women.
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