Indian Paintings

Paintings as an art form have flourished in India from very early periods as is evident from literary sources and from the remnants that have been discovered.  India is a geographically and culturally diverse country. As a result, the paintings of India reflect different method and materials, but the basic concept or theme behind all the forms of paintings remain the same. Indian paintings boast of human figures and the beauty revolving around life.

Ajanta Paintings

ajanta

  • The Ajanta paintings dates back to the earliest part of the 1st millennium CE and are primarily Buddhist in religious affiliation.  These murals painted with vegetable and mineral dyes in caves were discovered in early 19th century.
  • The paintings at Ajanta and Ellora depict Buddhist tales from the Jatakas.  Though the paintings are today 1500 years old, the paint has not only retained its colour but also much of its lustre.
  • The paintings on the ceilings are essentially decorative in character and consist of endless patterns, woven with flowers, plants, birds, beasts, human and semi-divine beings all permeated with naturalness, freshness and grace.

Mughal and Deccan Paintings

mughal

  • Mughal paintings developed and boomed during the reign of Emperor Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan.
  • There is a fine blend of the Indian and Persian style in Mughal paintings
  • Portraits of rulers, chiefs and common folks, elephants, horses, lions, other animals and birds, depictions of processions and court scenes, illustrations to mythological, were drawn and used for preparing either individual paintings or a series of paintings for patrons.
  • The Mughal painters endeavoured to develop the means to record accurately what they perceived around them.  On the contrary, the painters in the Deccan made conscious efforts at refining the expressive beauty of line and colour.

Lepakshi

lepakshi1

  • One of the largest murals ever painted in Asia happens to be on the ceiling of the shrine at the Veerabhadreswara Temple at Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh in South India.  This large painting of Veerabhadra measures about 23 feet by 13 feet.
  • These murals mostly depicts Kirataarjuneeyam, Dakshinamurthy and the diving wedding of Shiva and Parvati.
  • The mukhamandapa has a 50-feet long panel, which bears paintings narrating the legend of Manuneedhi Cholan.  This mandapa also bears paintings depicting Krishna as a child, and scenes from the Mahabharata illustrating Draupadi’s wedding.
  • The ardhamandapam of the Lepakshi temple bears paintings of 14 manifestations of Shiva.

Srirangam Paintings

srirangam

  • Paintings of Nayak and Marathas are found in the temple of Srirangam.  The innermost circumambulatory passage in the Srirangam temple consists of paintings depicting scenes from the epics.
  • Paintings found in the ceiling and front mandapam which date back to the 17th century depict scenes of Bhagavat Purana.  The features of the paintings are very sharp; figures are geometric and perfectly symmetric painted on walls, floors and ceilings.
  • The inner-most enclosure is the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Ranganatha.  It is square inside, but circular outside.  On the upper parts of the walls are paintings that are about 300 years old.

Chitra Sabha

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  • The Chitrasabha is a stand-alone structure that is located a few blocks away from the Kutralanathar temple at Kutralam in southern Tamilnadu.
  • It is a wooden structure, every inch of these walls are lined with murals depicting scenes from the epics. Nataraja along with Tripura Sundari and Shri Yantra and 16 forms of Ganapathi are also depicted in these paintings.
  • The story of Madurai Meenakshi is one of the masterpieces depicted in these murals.
  • These murals are intricately and profusely expressed on stone walls through vegetable dyes.

Brihadeeshwarar Temple Paintings

brihadeesh

  • The Brihadeeshwarar temple in Thanjavur, which dates back to the 11th century BC, has many  murals within.
  • A striking feature about the temple is the fresco painting, which can be seen in the ceilings of the corridors and in the ceilings of the many sub-shrines.  This is an invention of the Cholas and the paintings, which are about 1000 years old are still bright and colourful.
  • There is a mural that depicts grand cosmic dance of Nataraja at Chidambaram.  There is also a gigantic painting of Shiva as Tripurantaka, depicted on the northern wall of the enclosure.
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