Since the ancient times the tradition of painting has been carried out in Indian subcontinent. Some of the examples for Indian paintings dates back to the era of Ajanta and Ellora, Buddist palm leaf manuscripts, Mughal and Kangra schools of miniature paintings and etc. As per the reports, paintings were used for decorating the doorways, guest rooms etc since earlier days. Traditional Indian paintings have some sub divisions in which paintings of Ajanta, Sittanvasal and Bagh depict the love for nature and its energies in paintings.
Indian paintings as it evolved with the time, it blend with various traditions influencing them. The folk paintings of India have also become very famous in national and international level. These folk paintings reflect the influence of traditions and local customs. Some of the famous Indian styles of paintings are as follows:
These paintings dates back to the prehistoric period. Some of the examples of this period are murals of Ajanta, Ellora, Bagh, Sittanavasal etc. These reflect an emphasis on naturalism. Cave paintings of India serves as a showcase to our ancestors who inhabited in these caves. Red is the color was predominantly used in these paintings. Green yellow and blue or black were also used that were extracted from minerals. The subjects of these paintings changed with the time and areas. Animals and humans are the usually depictions that could be seen in cave paintings. They are superimposed figures made using geometrical forms that represent humans and animals individually.
These paintings are also called as Mithila painting that belong to a small village known as Maithili of Indian state of Bihar. It was originally started by the womenfolk of the village. They drew the paintings on the walls of their houses. The paintings used to be the illustrations of their thoughts, dreams and hopes. As the time passed by, the paintings became the part of festivities and special events like marriage, naming ceremony etc. They are done with fingers, brushes, matchsticks, twigs and natural pigments. Madhubani paintings are made using the geometrical forms.
Miniature Paintings: Miniatures are beautifully handmade paintings that are tiny in size. They are most colorful and attractive that highlights the delicate and intricate brushwork which makes this type of painting unique. They were made on perishable materials like paper, cloth etc. During 17th century from Western Himalayas these Indian miniature paintings started to evolve. It was highly influenced by the mural paintings of 18th century. The records convey that the contribution of Mughals to these Indian miniature paintings by introducing Persian tradition is immense. Thus this style of paintings was improved by artisans under the various rules.
Mughal paintings are the combination of Islamic, Persian and Indian styles. These painting evolved during 16th - 19th century during the development of the Mughal rule in India. The paintings progressed in different forms in different parts of the country. These paintings have some important features that seems to be originated during the reign on Humayun in India. Some of the master artists of this period are Basawan, Kesu Das, Lal, Miskin, Daswanth and Dalchand. The motifs that can be seen in Mughal paintings are roaring clouds, winged angels, fighting scenes, plants, birds and animals in realistic forms. These paintings were also made on the lives of the rulers, depiction of flora etc.
This is a form of classical painting of South India, evolved in the Mysore city of Karnataka state. During the reign of Raja Krishna Raja Wodeyar in Mysore this particular style of painting reached its zenith under their patronage. Thin gold foils are used to make these paintings. They require immense concentration and hard work to produce single piece of painting. The most popular themes of these paintings are scenes from Hindu mythology, Hindu gods and goddesses and etc. It mesmerizes the viewers due to its beauty, grace and intricacy work. Earlier it was mineral and vegetable colors used but today poster and water colors are used to in Mysore paintings.
These paintings are made in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh of India. This name is given to the Rajput paintings made in these two states. It evolved during the period of 17th to 19th century. These paintings are predominantly done in miniature forms. The themes of these paintings were taken from the epics, puranas, poetry and folk songs of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Later with the time, themes also evolved and revolved around love and devotion.
Rajput paintings originated during the late 16th to early 17th century in the royal state of Rajasthan. These paintings are strongly influenced by the Mughal style as Mughals ruled almost all the states of Rajasthan during this time. The themes of these paintings revolved around the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, Life of Lord Krishna, Landscapes and humans. These paintings were done on forts, walls of palaces, havelis etc. The colors used for these paintings were derived from plant sources, conch shells, precious stones, minerals, gold and silver etc.
It is the native art form of ‘Thanjavur’ also known as ‘Tanjore’ city of Tamil Nadu. It is one among the famous classical forms of South Indian paintings. These paintings are distinguished from other types of paintings due to the usage of vibrant colors, dense compositions and surface richness. They are relief works that gives three-dimensional effect. These paintings are embellished with precious stones, glass pieces and pearls. These paintings originated in India during the reign of Cholas in 16th century. Artisans from Tanjore, Trichy and Madurai practice this style of paintings. The main theme for these paintings is saints, Hindu gods and Goddesses etc.
Thus in modern days, the contemporary artists being influenced by these traditional art forms have excelled their modern works by expressing their imagination and by using their artistic liberty.
Artist Mr.Sridhar known for the traditional painting resides in Madurai. He is not trained in any fine art institute. His keen interest on painting and due to his good observing skill he has mastered the skills of drawing and painting in an appropriate perspective with proportional anatomy. During his childhood he was inspired to do paintings thus by observing calendars and book arts he initiated to do art works. Artisan uses his palm as his measuring tool while sketching to maintain the proportions of the sketch. A face of the figurine is made as per the length of palm and the body size of the figurine is 8 times of palm length. As per the requirement of the painting, brushes like round or flat shaped are used accordingly.