Indian Paintings (Art and Culture)

Paintings of India
"Painting is just an another word of keeping a dairy"
  • Pre-historic paintings
    • Paleolithic paintings
    • Mesolithic paintings
  • Mural paintings
    • Ajanta Caves (Maharashtra)
    • Ellora Caves (Maharashtra)
    • Bagh Caves (Madhya Pradesh)
    • Badami paintings (Karnataka)
    • Kerala paintings
    • Nayaka paintings (Madhurai, Tamil Nadu)
    • Chola paintings (Tanjore, Tamil Nadu)
    • Sittanavasal paintings (Tamil Nadu)
    • Vijayanagar paintings (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Miniature paintings
    • Early Miniature paintings
      • Pala miniature paintings
      • Western miniature paintings
    • Mughal Miniature paintings
      • Paintings during Akbar
      • Paintings during Jahangir
      • Paintings during Shahjahan
  • Rajasthani Paintings
  • Miscellaneous paintings
    • Thanjavur painting (Madhurai)
    • Mysore painting (Mysore)
    • Kalamkari painting (Andhra Pradesh)
    • Kangra painting (Himachal Pradesh)
    • Thang-ka painting (Leh)
    • Patachitra painting (Odisha)
    • Madhubani painting (Bihar)
    • Patana Kalam (Bihar)
    • Manjusha painting (Bihar)
    • Kalighat painting (West Bengal)
    • Worli painting (Mumbai)
    • Pabuji ki phad (Rajasthan)
indian paintings for upsc

Pre-Historic Paintings
Paintings and stone tools were considered as the most important source of information in the Pre-historic period.

Paleolithic Paintings - 
  • Paleolithic people used naturally obtained colours like green, yellow, brown, etc. 
  • The theme of the paintings was based on hunting, gathering and fighting.
  • The most important site of Paleolithic painting in India is Bhimbetka, MP.
paleolithic paintings
Bhimbetka Cave Painting, MP

Mesolithic Paintings -
  • It is a Petroglyph painting (i.e., line diagrams were used).
  • Paleolithic paintings were also Petroglyph paintings.
  • The characteristics tools of this period is Microlith which facilitate in creating the paintings.
  • The theme of the paintings was based on hunting, gathering, animal riding, celebration, group dance, household activities, sexual union, pahllus and yoni worship, etc.
  • They majorly used red colour which was obtained from many sources and most important source was animal blood.
  • Important sites of Mesolithic Paintings are:
    1. Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh
    2. Narsinghgarh, Madhya Pradesh
    3. Belan Valley, Mirzapur (UP)
  • The Mesolithic Painting for the first time was discovered by W.S. Wakankar in 1946.

Mural Paintings
The paintings which are done on the walls are known as Mural Paintings. Generally, there are two types of Mural Paintings.
  1. Fresco Mural Paintings
  2. Duco Mural Paintings
Fresco Mural Painting were mainly religious whereas Duco Mural Paintings are secular in nature.

Water soluble colours are used in Fresco Mural Painting whereas oil soluble colours are used in Duco Mural Painting.

Fresco Mural Paintings were more prevalent in India.

Some of the famous Fresco Mural Paintings 
1.  Ajanta Fresco Mural Paintings
  • Place - Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  • Fresco based on Buddhism is created inside Ajanta Caves.
  • One of the specialty of Ajanta Fresco Mural Painting is the absence of blue colour.
  • Example -
    • Padmapani (Bodhisattva holding a lotus)
    • Vajrapani (Bodhisattva holding a thunder bolt)
    • Manjushri (Buddha of wisdom)
    • Maitreya (Future Buddha)
    • Flying Apsara
    • Dying Princess, etc.

2.  Ellora Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Aurangabad, Maharashtra
  • The Fresco Murals of Ellora are from Rashtrakuta period.
  • Hinduism is widely painted inside Ellora Caves.
  • The famous painting of Ellora is Lord Vishnu riding on his vehicle Garuda.

3.  Bagh Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Madhya Pradesh
  • Cave no. 4 of Bagh is known as Rangmahal where beautiful Fresco related to Buddhism is there.

4.  Badami Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Karnataka
  • It was patronised by Chalukya rulers of Karnataka, particularly by Manglesh Chalukya.
  • The theme of the paintings is based on different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

5.  Sittanavasal Fresco Mural Paintins 
  • Place - Tamil Nadu
  • It was patronised by the Pandayas of Madhurai.
  • The theme of the paintings is based on Jainism and specially the life of Vardhaman Mahavira.

6.  Chola Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Tanjore, Tamil Nadu
  • Chola rulers created Mural Paintings of Hindu deities.
  • They also created their own images on the walls of temple.

7.  Kerala Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Kerala
  • Kerala Mural Paintings were patronised by Travancore rulers and local feudal lords.
  • The theme of the painting was based on various episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharat and Puranas.

8.  Nayaka Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Madhurai, Tamil Nadu
  • It was patronised by the Nayaka rulers of Madhurai.
  • The theme of the painting was inspired from Hindu mythology as well as from the life of Vardhaman Mahavira.

Note - Nayaka ruler, Vishwanath Nayak built Meenakshi Temple of Madhurai.

9.  Lepakshi/Vijayanagar Fresco Mural Paintings 
  • Place - Andhra Pradesh
  • It was patronised by the Vijayanagar rulers.
  • Although this Mural paintings was created on the walls of the temples but the theme was secular in nature.
  • One of the specialty of this painting was the complete absence of primary colours.

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