the ART of INDIA
an overview of the ART of INDIA >
Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts such as woven silk. Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent, including what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and at times eastern Afghanistan. A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.
The origin of Indian art can be traced to prehistoric settlements in the 3rd millennium BCE. On its way to modern times, Indian art has had cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups.
In historic art, sculpture in stone and metal, mainly religious, has survived the Indian climate better than other media and provides most of the best remains. Many of the most important ancient finds that are not in carved stone come from the surrounding, drier regions rather than India itself. Indian funeral and philosophic traditions exclude grave goods, which is the main source of ancient art in other cultures.
Indian artist styles historically followed Indian religions out of the subcontinent, having an especially large influence in Tibet, South East Asia and China. Indian art has itself received influences at times, especially from Central Asia and Iran, and Europe.
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Madhubani paintings are the most celebrated style of folk painting from India; it is a form of wall art that arises in the Mithila region of Bihar. This eye-catching art style never fails to amaze one by its beautiful illustrations on the exposed interior walls of the houses in Bihar. Madhubani paintings are a perfect example of artistic expression and evocative portrayal of culture and traditions. The designs make perfectly distinctive geometrical patterns, scenes from mythology, and symbolic images. The perfect blend of bright vibrant colours and unique patterns make Madhubani stand out from other painting styles. Katchni, Tantrik, Bharni, Khobar, and Godna are five different styles of Madhubani paintings.
Warli is a 2500-year-old traditional painting style from Maharashtra majorly practiced in Thane and Nashik region. Warli paintings illustrate the nature and social rituals of the tribe. Warli paintings also showcase day-to-day life scenarios of the local people of that particular community just like dancing, farming, hunting, praying, etc. The local women used twigs to draw such beautiful lively designs with rice paste on mud walls to convey the celebration vibes of harvests or weddings.
The Kalighat painting was discovered around the mid-19th century at Kali Temple in Calcutta. These paintings and drawings were done on paper by a community known as “patuas”. A Kalighat painting depicts scenes of everyday life and mythological deities in a captivating manner. Kalighat artists use subtle earthy Indian colours like indigo, ochre, Indian red, grey, blue and white.
Phad is a traditional Rajasthani scroll painting from India, depicting the stories of local deities, heroic figures from battlefields, adventure stories, and legendary romantic stories on horizontal cloth scrolls with the hues of red, yellow, and bright orange. Phad Painting marvellously portrays multiple stories in a single composition and beautifully maintains the aesthetics of artistic expression.
Miniature / Mughal
Miniature painting is Mughal influenced art form; this style was introduced in India during the 16th century and transformed its identity in the history of Indian art. Miniature paintings are a blend of Islamic, Persian, and Indian elements. These paintings are created using all-natural mineral colours, precious stones, conch shells, gold, and silver. Across India, the miniature style painting has developed its own identity into distinct schools of miniature paintings like Kangra, Rajasthan, Malwa, Pahadi, Mughal, Deccan, etc.
Gond paintings are a series of arranged dots and dashes developed by the Gondi tribe of central India. The tribes used to recreate some famous epic mythological tales of histories to traditional songs and rituals with rich detailing and bright colours. Traditionally, the colours used for gond paintings were derived from natural resources like cow dung, plant sap, charcoal, coloured soil, mud, flowers, leaves, etc. With growing times, the Gond art has moved beyond being a tribal art style.
Kerala mural paintings are the most unique art form and have deep spiritual roots depicting themes of Hindu mythologies, epics of the bye-gone era, classic tales of Krishna, and mystic forms of Shiva and Shakti. These traditional art styles are made up of bold strokes, and vivid colours. White, ochre-red, bluish-green, yellow-ochre, and pure colours are predominantly used in Kerala mural painting.
Patachitra is a traditional art form from Odisha. Patachitra paintings are mostly derived from mythological and religious themes done beautifully with bold, strong outlines, vibrant colors like white, red yellow, and black with decorative borders.
Picchwai artwork was made as wall hangings behind the main deity in Krishna temples in Nathdwara which narrates the stories related to Lord Krishna. Picchwais are the most colorful and intricate work concealed with symbolism in the artistic motifs. This classified devotional art practice has passed from one generation to another and a fine example of spirituality in art.