A country that has always upheld arts, whether it is crafting or singing or dancing, India has also its own unique painting styles. The ever fascinating Indian art works have been a platform on which is expressed thousands of emotions, thought and feeling. As rich as the famous Indian diversity, are its art works as well.

Abanindranath Tagore’s Mother India

When the Western style of painting art is rife these days through its various forms such as modernism, abstract style, impressionism and certain lesser popular styles such as photo-realism and surrealism, its Indian counterpart too does not trail behind a bit. The painting art styles conceived in India is richly diverse ranging from Mughal miniature paintings to Tanjorean classics.

Boasting of a very long history, Indian painting can be categorised into three as regards to the timeline – mural or wall painting, miniature painting and removable media painting. Following the rock shelter drawings, painting in these regions blossomed through enigmatic rock paintings such as those seen in Chatthisgarh as sub-rock paintings aged 10,000 years. The Buddhist art that emerged later on leaves considerably its mark on the entire Hindu art that excelled since then.

Fifth century scroll paintings of Before Christian Era have been realised by more than one painters using vegetable colours.The Patta Chithra school that emerged later treading these footsteps became famous for its scroll paintings. Patta chithra refers to Odiyan and Bengali classical painting. There have been a number of sub-styles for Patta Chithra, of which the last tradition called Kalighat Patta Chithra owes to Jamini Roy for its development.

The eminent artist from Bengal, Jamini is counted among the twentieth century Indian art’s early modernists. His ‘Three Pujarins’ comes inspired by the Bengali folk art tradition. His experiments with vibrant colours earned great acclaim along with his individual style developed all by himself.

Abanindranath Tagore who founded the famous Bengal School of Art painted an iconic piece depicting Mother India as a saffron clad women looking very much like a Sadhvi. She holds in her four hands, a book, paddy sheaves, white cloth piece and a garland. This painting became so immensely popular among those days’ nationalists that an admirer of it wished to carry it to Kanyakumari from Kashmir with a view to spread among the country’s people, nationalist fervour.

Jamini Roy’s Three Priestesses

As nationalism spread among the Indians, all started recognising Mahathma Gandhi as the greatest freedom fighters ever walked the world. For the legendary painter Nandlal Bose Gandhi was not just a personal muse but an inspiration for every artist of the times. No wonder, his linocut portrait of Gandhi of 1930 titled Dandi March abundantly reflects the respect of the artist for the greatest philanthropist of the world. This piece is on permanent display in Delhi, at the National Gallery of Modern Art.

SL Haldankar, who realised the classical Lady with the Lamp seventy years back had engaged his daughter to stand still for three hours with a lamp in her hand as a model for this painting of his. Also known as Glow of Hope, this water colour painting still adorns the walls of Mysore’s Shri Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery in Jaganmohan Palace. The ethereal portrayal of light reflecting from the lass’ fingers, along with the use of soft and subtle colours have turned this painting into a widely regarded work renowned worldwide.

The Tamil painter S Elayaraja is popular for his hyper-real trait. His photo-graphical depictions boast of an inimitable style. His big time painting titled ‘Dravidian Girl and Parrots’, the great man painstakingly ensures that life is breathed to every detail of the picture starting from the dress folds to the borders of her skirt to the gold threaded patterns shining like stars. This painting showcases through its golden light spread, the deep bond existing between the artist and his cultural background, as a person who had his boyhood in Tamil Nadu temple town.

All these pictures from legendary painters have one thing in common for sure – an Indian touch. This is exactly what Bhavalaya is expecting as well along with the Indian Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman as they extend their ‘Paint Your Views on India@75’ painting competition platform to the students of Indian schools functioning in Muscat.


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