History Of Indian Paintings
Indian paintings can be referred to as the mirror of India's fascinating
history from the ancient times. Bringing about a reflection of religious
beliefs, political events and social customs, Indian paintings offer a
beautiful record of centuries and provide an aesthetic continuum that
extends from the early civilization to the present day.
The earliest examples of India's long tradition of painting are the wall
paintings that attained excellence in the caves of Ajanta, Bagh and Badami,
during the period between 200 BC to 700 CE. The themes of these
wall-paintings range from Buddhist legends to decorative patterns and
showcase permanent human values and principles.
Indian miniature paintings were done with an idea of symbolism. The
symbolic language recorded the miniaturists' communion with natural wonders.
The subjects were basically derived from myths served as the base for
transformation of nature into art, human and supernatural. 'Miniature' is
small size meticulous painting in detail and delicate in brushwork. The art
of palm-leaf illuminations were traditionally labeled as patra-lekhana in
medieval Indian canons.
The first miniature paintings are said to have been brought from Persia, by
the Mughal Emperor Humayun in the 16th century. The Indo-Persian school
combined the abstract calligraphic style of the Persians with the more
sensuous Indian ones.
During the reign of Emperor Akbar, books were embellished with miniature
art and great Indian and Persian epics were illustrated. This mughal school
of art influenced the paintings done in various parts of the country.
The mighty mughal rulers of the 16th and 17th centuries appreciated and
sponsored exquisite workmanship in the decorative paintings for manuscripts
and albums. The cohesive formulation of styles at the Mughal court came to
an end, however, when the sixth emperor, Aurangzeb, at the end of the 17th
century disbanded the court workshops in the name of Muslim orthodoxy. From
this time forward, Mughal painting increasingly reflected the
decentralization of both power and patronage. The gap between the sense of
entitlement of Mughal rulers and their actual circumstances is most evident
in portraiture, as artists struggled to give the imperial presence its
Kalamkari is an exquisite ancient craft of painted and printed fabrics. It
derives its name from Kalam meaning Pen, and Kari meaning work, literally
Pen-work. It is hand painting as well as block printing with vegetable dyes.
The kalamkari works of art drawn entirely by hand, were origionally created
predominantly for the temples as narrative murals.These murals tell the
stories of the great Hindu epics in picture form.
Indian traditional art is in many ways a discovery of the 20th century. The
bold local styles of the village artisan have always been the major
contributor to the evolution of Indian art. Folk art in India does not
merely bear an identical resemblance to the original model, but is an act of
creation, full of impressions and symbols. The roots of art in India do not
live in idealistic art itself but are firmly attached to life-once this is
understood, there is no defend, justify or excuse Indian art. Art has become
an international expression. Although its regional accents, influenced by
different traditions may vary, its basic language is understood everywhere.
Contemporary Indian paintings is a reflection of this universal speech.