Friday, May 1, 2015

Miniature Painting

Source: http://www.ccrtindia.gov.in/miniaturepainting.php
 
1. THE PALA SCHOOL (11th to 12th centuries)
The earliest examples of miniature painting in India exist in the form of illustrations to the religious texts on Buddhism executed under the Palas of the eastern India and the Jain texts executed in western India during the 11th-12th centuries A.D. The Pala period (750 A.D. to the middle of the 12th century) witnessed the last great phase of Buddhism and of the Buddhist art in India. The Buddhist monasteries (mahaviharas) of Nalanda, Odantapuri,Vikramsila and Somarupa were great centres of Buddhist learning and art. A large number of manuscripts on palm-leaf relating to the Buddhist themes were written and illustrated with the images of Buddhist deities at these centres which also had workshops for the casting of bronze images. Students and pilgrims from all over South-East Asia gathered there for education and religious instruction. They took back to their countries examples of Pala Buddhist art, in the form of bronzes and manuscripts which helped to carry the Pala style to Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Sri Lanka and Java etc. The surviving examples of the Pala illustrated manuscripts mostly belong to the Vajrayana School of Buddhism.
The stupa of Sariputta at Nalanda, Bihar
 
The Pala painting is characterised by sinuous line and subdued tones of colour. It is a naturalistic style which resembles the ideal forms of contemporary bronze and stone sculpture, and reflects some feeling of the classical art of Ajanta. A fine example of the typical Buddhist palm-leaf manuscript illustrated in the Pala style exists in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, England. It is a manuscript of the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita, or the perfection of Wisdom written in eight thousand lines. It was executed at the monastery of Nalanda in the fifteenth year of the reign of the Pala King, Ramapala, in the last quarter of the eleventh century. The manuscript has illustrations of six pages and also on the insides of both wooden covers.
The Pala art came to a sudden end after the destruction of the Buddhist monasteries at the hands of Muslim invaders in the first half of the 13th century. Some of the monks and artists escaped and fled to Nepal, which helped in reinforcing the existing art traditions there.

2. THE WESTERN INDIAN SCHOOL (12th - 16th centuries).
The Western Indian style of painting prevailed in the region comprising Gujarat, Rajasthan and Malwa. The motivating force for the artistic activity in Western India was Jainism just as it was Buddhism in case of the Ajanta and the Pala arts. Jainism was patronised by the Kings of the Chalukya Dynasty who ruled Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan and Malwa from 961 A.D. to the end of the 13th century. An enormous number of Jain religious manuscripts were commissioned from 12th to 16th centuries by the princes, their ministers and the rich Jain merchants for earning religious merit. Many such manuscripts are available in the Jain libraries (bhandaras) which are found at many places in Western India.
The illustrations on these manuscripts are in a style of vigorous distortion. One finds in this style an exaggeration of certain physical traits, eyes, breasts and hips are enlarged. Figures are flat with angularity of features and the further eye protruding into space. This is an art of primitive vitality vigorous line and forceful colours. From about 1100 to 1400 A.D., palm-leaf was used for the manuscripts and later on paper was introduced for the purpose. TheKalpasutra and the Kalakacharya-Katha, the two very popular Jain texts were repeatedly written and illustrated with paintings. Some notable examples are the manuscripts of the Kalpasutra in the Devasano pado Bhandar at Ahmedabad, the Kalpasutra and Kalakacharya-Katha of about 1400 A.D. in the Prince of Wales Museum. Bombay and the Kalpasutra dated 1439 A.D. executed in Mandu, now in the National Museum, New Delhi and the Kalpasutrawritten and painted in Jaunpur in 1465 A.D.
Malwa painting, Rajasthan School of painting

  3. OTHER ISOLATED STYLES (1500-1550 A.D.)
During the 15th century the Persian style of painting started influencing the Western Indian style of painting as is evident from the Persian facial types and hunting scenes appearing on the border's of some of the illustrated manuscripts of the Kalpasutra. Introduction of the use of ultra­marine blue and gold colour in the Western Indian manuscripts is also believed to be due to the influence of the Persian painting. These Persian paintings, which came to India, were in the form of illustrated manuscripts. A number of such manuscripts were copied in India. Some colours used in these types of copies can be seen in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington and an illustrated manuscript of Bustan of Sadi in the National Museum, New Delhi. The Bustan was executed for Sultan Nadir Shah Khilji of Malwa (1500-1510 A.D.), by one Hajji Mahmud (painter) Shahsuwar (scribe).
An illustrated manuscript of the Nimat Nama (Cookery Book) which exists in the Indian Office Library, London is marked by a new trend of painting at Malwa. The manuscript was started in the time of Ghiyasaldin Khilji of Malwa (1469-1500 A.D.). A left of this manuscript is illustrated here. It shows Ghiyasaldin Khilji supervising cooking being done by maids. In the Nimat Nama style the Persian influence is visible in the scroll like clouds, flowering trees, grassy tufts and flowering plants in the background, female figures and costumes. Indian elements are noticeable in some female types and their costumes and ornaments and colours. In this manuscript one can notice the first attempt towards the evolution of new styles of painting by the fusion of the Persian style of Shiraz with the indigenous Indian style.
Persian painting

Gita - Govinda, Mewar, Rajasthan School of Painting
The finest examples of painting belonging to the first half of the 16th century are, however, represented by a group of miniatures generally designated as the "Kulhadar Group". This group includes illustrations of the 'Chaurapanchasika' - "Fifty Verses of the Thief by Bilhan, the Gita Govinda, the Bhagavata Purana andRagamala. The style of these miniatures is marked by the use of brilliant contrasting colours, vigorous and angular drawing, transparent drapery and the appearance of conical caps 'Kulha' on which turbans are worn by the male figures.
An example of the Chaurapanchasika miniature shows Champavati standing near a lotus pond. This miniature belongs to the N.C. Mehta collection, Bombay. It was executed in the first quarter of the 6th century, probably in Mewar. The style of the painting is purely indigenous derived from the earlier tradition of the Westen Indian art and does not show any influence of either the Persian or the Mughal style of painting.
Two manuscripts of the Laur Chanda, an Avadhi romance by Mulla Daud, one in the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay and the other in John Rylands Library, Manchester seem to have been painted at Muslim courts between 1530 to 1540 A.D. They show a mixture of Persian and Indian styles like the Nimat Nama of Malwa. The other two important manuscripts of this period are the Mrigavati and the Mahapurana, a Jain text. They are executed in a style related to Chaurapanchasika style.


II. THE MUGHAL SCHOOL (1560-1800 A.D.)
The origin of the Mughal School of Painting is considered to be a landmark in the history of painting in India. With the establishment of the Mughal empire, the Mughal School of painting originated in the reign of Akbar in 1560 A.D. Emperor Akbar was keenly interested in the art of painting and architecture. While a boy he had taken lessons in drawing. In the beginning of his rule an ateliar of painting was established under the supervision of two Persian masters, Mir Sayyed Ali and Abdul Samad Khan, who were originally employed by his father Humayun. A large number of Indian artists from all over India were recruited to work under the Persian masters.
The Mughal style evolved as a result of a happy synthesis of the indigenous Indian style of painting and the Safavid school of Persian painting. The Mughal style is marked by supple naturalism based on close observation of nature and fine and delicate drawing. It is of an high aesthetic merit. It is primarily aristocratic and secular.
An illustrated manuscript of the Tuti-nama in the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA) appears to be the first work of the Mughal School. The style of painting in this manuscript shows the Mughal style in its formative stage. Shortly after that, between 1564-69 A.D. was completed a very ambitious project in the form of Hamza-nama illustrations on cloth, originally consisting of 1400 leaves in seventeen volumes. Each leaf measured about 27"x20". The style of Hamza-nama is more developed and refined than that of the Tuti-nama.
Akbar's return, Mughal painting from Ain-i-Akbari

Hamza - nama illustration on cloth, Mughal School of Painting
The Hamza-nama illustrations are in a private collection in Switzerland. It shows Mihrdukht shooting arrows at the bird on a multi-staged minaret, from the upper storey of a pavilion. In this miniature one can observe that the architecture is Indo-Persian, the tree types are mainly derived from the Deccani painting and female types are adapted from the earlier Rajasthani paintings, Women are wearing four comered pointed skirts and transparent muslim veils. Turbans worn by men are small and tight, typical of the Akbar period.
The Mughal style was further influenced by the European paintings which came in the Mughal court, and absorbed some of the Westem techniques like shading and perspective.
 

The other important manuscripts illustrated during the period of Akbar are the Gulistan of Sadi dated 1567 in the British Museum, London, the Anwari-Suhavli (a book of fables) dated 1570 in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, another Gulistan of Sadi in the Royal Asiatic Society Library copied at Fatehpur Sikri in 1581 by Muhammad Hussain al-Kashmiri, a Diwan of the poet Amir Shahi in the Bibliotheque Nationale, of the Diwan of Hafiz, one divided between the British Museum and the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin and the second in the Persian section of the Chester Beatty Library, another manuscript of the Tuti-nama in the same Library, theRazm-nama (Persian translation of the Mahabharata) in the Maharaja of Jaipur Museum, Jaipur, the Baharistan of Jami dated 1595 in the Bodleian Library, the Darab-nama in the British Museum, the Akbar-nama (circa 1600) in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Tarikh-i-Alfi dated 1596 A.D. in the Gulistan Library in Tehran, a number of the Babar-nama, a manuscript executed in the last decade of the 16th century, the Twarikh-e-Khandane Taimuria in the Khuda Baksh Library, Patna, the Jog Vashisht dated 1602 in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin etc. Moreover, a number of paintings of court and hunting scenes and portraits were also executed during the period of Akbar.
Peacocks, Mughal School of painting

Portrait of Jahangir, Miniature painting, Mughal School of painting
The list of Akbar's court painters includes a large number of names. Some of the famous painters other than the two Persian masters already mentioned are Dasvanth, Miskina, Nanha, Knha, Basawan, Manohar, Doulat, Mansur, Kesu, Bhim Gujarati, Dharam Das, Madhu, Surdas, Lal, Shankar Goverdhan and Inayat.
Under Jahangir, painting acquired greater charm, refinement and dignity. He had great fascination for nature and took delight in the portraiture of birds, animals and flowers. Some important manuscripts illustrated during his period are, an animal fable book called Ayar-i-Danish, the leaves of which are in the Cowasji Jahangir collection, Bombay and the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, and the Anwar-i-sunavli, another fable book in the British Museum, London, both executed between 1603-10, some miniatures in the Gulistan and a Diwan of Hafiz both in the British Museum. Besides a number of durbar scenes, portraits, bird, animal and flower studies were also executed during his period. The famous painters of Jahangir are Aqa Riza, Abul Hasan, Mansur, Bishan Das, Manohar, Goverdhan, Balchand, Daulat, Mukhlis, Bhim and Inayat.
The portrait of Jahangir illustrated is a typical example of miniature executed during the period of Jahangir. This miniature is in the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi. It shows Jahangir holding a picture of the Virgin Mary in his right hand. The portrait is remarkable for its superb drawing and fine modelling and realism. There is liberal use of gold colour on the borders which are decorated with floral designs. Text in Persian appears along the border. The portrait is assigned to 1615-20 A.D. Following the example of the Mughal Emperor the courtiers and the provincial officers also patronised painting. They engaged artists trained in the Mughal technique of painting. But the artists available to them were of inferior merit, those who could not seek employment in the Imperial Atelier which required only first-rate artists. The works of such painters are styled as "Popular Mughal" or 'Provincial Mughal' painting. This style of painting has all important characteristics of the Imperial Mughal painting but is inferior in quality. Some notable examples of the Popular Mughal painting are a series of the Razm-nama dated 1616 A.D., a series of the Rasikapriya (1610-1615) and a series of the Ramayana of circa 1610 A.D., in several Indian and foreign museums.


An example from a series of the Ramayana of the early 17th century in the typical popular Mughal style, from the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi. It shows a fight between the armies of Rama and Ravana in Lanka. Rama with his brother Lakshmana is seen in the foreground to the left while Ravana is seen in his court conversing with the demon chiefs inside the golden fort. The drawing is fine but not as refined as observed in the Imperial Mughal painting. The human facial type, demons, the tree types and the treatment of rocks are all in the Mughal manner. The miniature is marked by the spirit of action and dramatic movement created in the fighting scene.
Under Shah Jahan the Mughal painting maintained its fine quality. But the style, however, became over-ripe during the later period of his rule. Portraiture was given considerable attention by his painters. The well-known artists of his period are Bichiter, Chaitaraman, Anup Chattar, Mohammed Nadir of Samarquand, Inayat and Makr. Apart from portraiture, other paintings showing groups of ascetics and mystics and a number of illustrated manuscripts were also executed during his period. Some noteworthy examples of such manuscripts are the Gulistan and the Bustan of Sadi, copied for the emperor in the first and second years of his reign and the Shah Jahan Nama 1657, at Windsor Castle.
A miniature in the collection of the National Museum depicts a gathering of Sufis (Muslim divines) who are seen seated in an open space and engaged in discussion. It displays supple naturalism of the Mughal style of the Shah Jahan period. The drawing is refined and the colours have subdued tones. The background is green and the sky is in golden colour. The borders show floral designs in golden colour. The miniature is assigned to circa 1650 A.D.
Shahjahan on a globe, Mughal School of painting

Aurangzeb was a puritan and therefore did not encourage art. Painting declined during his period and lost much of its earlier quality. A large number of court painters migrated to the provincial courts.
During the period of Bahadur Shah, there was a revival of the Mughal painting after the neglect shown by Aurangzeb. The style shows an improvement in quality.
After 1712 A.D. the Mughal painting again started deteriorating under the later Mughals. Though retaining the outer form it became lifeless and lost inherent quality of the earlier Mughal art.

III.. THE DECCANI SCHOOLS (CIRCA 1560-1800 A.D.)
Though no pre-Mughal painting from the Deccan are so far known to exist, yet it can safely be presumed that sophisticated schools of painting flourished there, making a significant contribution to the development of the Mughal style in North India. Early centres of painting in the Deccan, during the 16th and 17th centuries were Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda. In the Deccan, painting continued to develop independently of the Mughal style in the beginning. However, later in the 17th and 18th centuries it was increasingly influenced by the Mughal style.
1. AHMEDNAGAR
The earliest examples of the Ahmednagar painting are contained in a volume of poems written in praise of Hussain Nizam Shah I of Ahmednagar (1553-1565) and his queen. This manuscript known as the 'Tarif-in-Hussain Shahi and assigned to a period 1565-69 is preserved in the Bharat ltihas Samshodaka Mandala, Poona. One of the illustrations depicts the king sitting on the throne and attended by a number of women. The female type appearing in the painting belongs to the northern tradition of Malwa. The Choli (bodice) and long pigtails braided and ending in a tassel are the northern costume. But the long scarf passing round the body is in the southern fashion. The colours used in the painting being rich and brilliant are different from those used in the northern paintings. The Persian influence can be seen in the high horizon, gold sky and the landscape.
Some other fine examples of the Ahmednagar painting are the "Hindola Raga" of about 1590 A.D. and portraits of Burhan Nizam Shah II of Ahmednagar (1591-96 A.D.) and of Malik Amber of about 1605 A.D. existing in the National Museum, New Delhi and other museums.
Pahari, Kangra School, Hindola Raga, 1790-1800 A. D

Prince of Bijapur ., Deccani School of painting
2. BIJAPUR
In Bijapur, painting was patronised by Ali Adil Shah I (1558-80 A.D.) and his successor Ibrahim II (1580-1627 A.D.). An encyclopaedia known as the Najum-al-ulum (Stars of Sciences), preserved in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, was illustrated in 1570 A.D. in the reign of Ali Adil Shah I. This manuscript contains 876 miniatures. The ladies appearing in the illustrations are tall and slender and are wearing the South Indian dress. One of the miniatures illustrated here shows the "Throne of Prosperity". There is influence of the Lepakshi mural painting on the female types. The rich colour scheme, the palm trees, animals and men and women all belong, to the Deccani tradition. The profuse use of gold colour, some flowering plants and arabesques on the top of the throne are derived from the Persian tradition.
Ibrahim II (1580-1627 A.D.) was a musician and author of a book, the Naurasnama., on the subject. It is believed that a number of the Ragamala paintings were commissioned in various museums and private collections. A few contemporary portraits of Ibrahim II are also available in several museums.

3. GOLCONDA
The earliest paintings identified as Golconda work are a group of five charming paintings of about 1590 A.D. in the British Museum, London, painted in the period of Muhammad Quli Quta Shah (1580-1611) Golconda. They show dancing girls entertaining the company. One of the miniatures illustrated shows the king in his court watching a dance performance. He wears the white muslim coat with embroidered vertical band, a typical costume associated with the Golconda court. Gold colour has been lavishly used in painting the architecture, costume, jewellery and vessels etc.
Other outstanding examples of the Golconda painting are "Lady with the Myna bird", about 1605 A.D. in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, an illustrated manuscript of a Sufi poem (1605-15 A.D.) in the British Museum, London and a couple of portraits showing a poet in a garden and an elegantly dressed young man seated on a golden stool and reading a book, both signed by a certain artist Muhammad Ali in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Early Deccani painting absorbed influences of the northern tradition of the pre-Mughal painting which was flourishing in Malwa, and of the southern tradition of the Vijayanagar murals as evident in the treatment of female types and costumes. Influence of the Persian painting is also observed in the treatment of the horizon gold sky and landscape. The colours are rich and brilliant and are different from those of the northern painting. Tradition of the early Deccani painting continued long after the extinction of the Deccan Sultanates of Ahmednagar, Bijapur and Golconda.
Lady smokingHooka, Golconda painting

A lady with made, Vilaval Ragini, 18th century A.D.
4. HYDERABAD
Painting in Hyderabad started with the foundation of the Asafjhi dynasty by Mir Qamruddin Khan (Chin Qulick Khan) Nizam-ul-Mulk in 1724 A.D. Influence of the Mughal style of painting on the already existing early styles of Deccani paintings, introduced by several Mughal painters who migrated to the Deccan during the period of Aurangzeb and sought patronage there, was responsible for the development of various styles of painting in the Deccan at Hyderabad and other centres. Distinctive features of the Deccani paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries are observed in the treatment of the ethnic types, costumes, jewellery, flora, fauna, landscape and colours.
A miniature showing a princess in the company of maids is a typical example of the Hyderabad school of painting. The princess is reclining on richly furnished terrace covered with a canopy. The style of the painting is decorative. Typical characteristics of the Hyderabad painting like the rich colours, the Deccani facial types and costumes can be observed in the miniature. It belongs to the third quarter of the 18th century.

5. TANJORE
A style of painting characterised by bold drawing, techniques of shading and the use of pure and brilliant colours flourished at Tanjore in South India during the late 18th and 19th centuries.
A typical example of the Tanjore painting, in the collection of the National Museum, is an illustrated wooden panel of early 19th century showing the coronation of Rama. The scene is laid under elaborately decorated arches. In the middle Rama and Sita are seated on the throne, attended by his brothers and a lady; In the left and right panels are seen rishis, courtiers and princes. In the foreground are Hanuman, Sugriva who is being honoured and two other vanaras opening a box probably containing gifts. The style is decorative and is marked by the use of bright colours and ornamental details. The conical crown appearing in the miniature is a typical feature of the Tanjore painting.
Krishana, Tanjore painting, 18th century A.D

Gita - Govinda, Mewar, Rajasthan School of Painting
IV. THE CENTRAL INDIAN AND RAJASTHANI SCHOOLS (17TH-19TH CENTURIES)
Unlike Mughal painting which is primarily secular, the art of painting in Central India, Rajasthani and the Pahari region etc. is deeply rooted in the Indian traditions, taking inspiration from Indian epics, religious texts like the Puranas, love poems in Sanskrit and other Indian languages, Indian folk-lore and works on musical themes. The cults of Vaishnavism, Saivism and Sakti exercised tremendous influence on the pictorial art of these places. Among these the cult of Krishna was the most popular one which inspired the patrons and artists. The themes from theRamayana., the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata, the Siva Purana, the Naishadacarita, the Usha Aniruddha, the GitaGovinda of Jayadeva, the Rasamanjari of Bhanudatta, the Amaru Sataka, the Rasikapriya of Kesavadasa, the Bihari Satasayee and the Ragamala etc., provided a very rich field to the painter who with his artistic skill and devotion made a significant contribution to the development of Indian painting.


In the 16th century there already existed in Central India and Rajasthan the primitive art traditions in the form of the 'Western Indian' and the 'Chaurapanchasika' styles which served as a base for the origin and growth of various schools of painting during the 17th century. Peaceful conditions prevailed in Rajasthan in the later half of the 16th and the 17th centuries. The Rajput rulers had gradually accepted the Mughal supremacy and many among them occupied important positions in the Mughal court. Some of the rulers also entered into matrimonial alliances with the Mughals. The Rajput rulers following the example set by the Mughal Emperors employed artists to work at their courts. Some of the Mughal artists of inferior merit who were no longer required by the Mughal Emperors, migrated to Rajasthan and other places and found employment at the local courts. It is believed that the popular version of the Mughal style which these painters carried to various places influenced the already existing styles of paintings there with the consequence that a number of new schools of painting originated in Rajasthan and Central India in the 17th and 18th centuries. Among these the important schools of paintings are Malwa, Mewar, Bundi- Kotah, Amber­Jaipur, Bikaner, Marwar and Kishengarh.
The Rajasthani style of painting including that of Malwa, is marked by bold drawing, strong and contrasting colours. The treatment of figures is flat without any attempt to show perspective in a naturalistic manner. Sometimes the surface of the painting is divided into several compartments of different colours in order to separate one scene from another. Mughal influence is seen in the refining of drawing and some element of naturalism introduced in figures and trees. Each school of painting has its distinct facial type, costume, landscape and colour scheme.
Miniature Painting, Mewar, Rajasthan School of Painting

Ravana begging sita for Alm, Malwa, Rajasthan School of painting
1. MALWA
Some of the important paintings executed in the Malwa style are a series of the Rasikapriya dated 1634 A.D., a series of the Amaru Sataka painted in 1652 A.D. at a place called Nasratgarh and a series of theRagamala painted in 1680 A.D. by an artist named Madhau Das, at Narsyanga Shah, some of them available in the National Museum, New Delhi, another Amaru-Sataka of the same period in the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay and a Ragamala series of about 1650 A.D. in the Bharat Kala Bhavan, Banaras. The art of painting in Malwa continued till the end of the 17th century A.D.
An example from a series of the Ragamala of 1680 A.D. represents the Megha Raga. The miniature shows the blue-complexioned Raga dancing with a lady to the accompaniment of music played by three female musicians. The scene is laid against a blue background. The sky is overcast with dark clouds with a streak of lightening and rain is indicated by white dotted lines. Four swans flying in a row, against a dark background of clouds, enhance the pictorial effect to the miniature. The text is written in Nagari on the top. The typical characteristics of the painting are the use of contrasting colours, refinement of drawing due to the influence of the Mughal painting and ornaments and costumes consisting of black tassels and striped skirts.



2. MEWAR
The earliest example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamala painted in 1605 A.D. at Chawand, a small place near Udaipur, by Misardi. Most of the paintings of this series are in the collection of shri Gopi Krishna Kanoria. Another important series of the Ragamala was painted by Sahibdin in 1628 A.D. Some paintings of this series which previously belonged to the Khajanchi collection, are now in the National Museum, New Delhi. Other examples of the Mewar painting are the illustration to the third book (Aranya Kanda) of the Ramayana dated 1651 A.D., in the Saraswati Bhandar, Udaipur, the seventh book (Uttara Kanda) of the Ramayana dated 1653 A.D. in the British Museum, London and a series of the Ragamala miniature of almost the same period in the National Museum, New Delhi.An example from the Ragamala series painted by Sahibdin in 1628 A.D. which is now in the National Museum, is the miniature that shows the Lalita Ragini.. The heroine is lying on a bed with her eyes closed under a painted pavilion with a door, while a maid presses her feet. Outside, the hero is seen carrying a garland in either hand. In the foreground is a caparisoned horse with a groom sitting near the steps of the pavilion. The drawing is bold and the colours are bright and contrasting. The text of the painting is written in black on the top against the yellow ground.
Mewar, Rajasthan School of Painting

Raga Megha Malhar, Bundi, Rajasthan School of painting
3. BUNDI
The Bundi style of painting is very close to the Mewar style, but the former excels the latter in quality. Painting in Bundi started as early as circa 1625 A.D. A painting showing Bhairavi Ragini, in the Allahabad Museum is one of the earliest examples of Bundi painting. Some examples are, an illustrated manuscript of the Bhagawata.  Purana in the Kotah Museum and a series of the Rasikapriya in the National Museum, New Delhi.
A series of the Rasikapriya of the late 17th century, has a scene which represents Krishna trying to collect butter from a Gopi, but finding that the pot contains a piece of cloth and some other objects and no butter he rea1ises that he has been duped by the Gopi. In the background are trees and in the foreground is a river indicated with wavy lines. In the river are seen flowers and a pair of acquatic birds. The painting has a border in brilliant red colour. The peculiar characteristics of the Bundi painting, as evident in this miniature, are the rich and glowing colours, the rising sun in golden colour, crimson-red horizon, overlapping and semi-naturalistic trees. The Mughal influence is visible in the refined drawing of the faces and an element of naturalism in the treatment of the trees. The text is written in black against yellow background on the top.

4. KOTAH
A style of painting very much akin to the Bundi style also prevailed in Kotah a place near Bundi, during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Themes of tiger and bear hunt were very popular at Kotah. In Kotah paintings, most of the space is occupied by the hilly jungle which has been rendered with a unique charm.
Ragin Vasanta, Kotah painting, Rajasthan School of painting

Jaipur painting, Rajasthani school of painting,
5. AMBER - JAIPUR
The State of Amber had the closest relations with the Mughal Emperors. It is generally believed that a school of painting originated at Amber, the old capital of the Amber State, in early 17th century. Later on in the 18th century, the centre of artistic activity shifted to Jaipur, the new capital. There is a fairly large number of portraits of the Jaipur rulers and miniatures on other subjects which can definitely be assigned to the Jaipur School.

Marwar painting, Rajasthan School of painting
6. MARWAR
One of the earliest examples of painting in Marwar is a series of the Ragamala in the collection of Kumar Sangram Singh, painted by an artist named Virji in 1623 A.D. at Pali in Marwar. The miniatures are executed in a primitive and vigorous folk style and are completely uninfluenced by the Mughal style.        .
A large number of miniatures comprising portraits, court scenes, series of the Ragamala and the Baramasa, etc. were executed from the 17th to 19th centuries at several centres of painting like Pali, Jodhpur and Nagour etc. in Marwar.
7. BIKANER
Bikaner was one of the States which had close relations with the Mughals. Some of the Mughal artists during the later half of the 17th century were given patronage by the Bikaner court and were responsible for the introduction of a new style of painting having much similarity with the Mughal and the Deccani styles. One important artist Ali Raza "the Ustad (master) of Delhi", was employed by Raja Karan Singh of Bikaner in about 1650 A.D. Some other noteworthy artists who worked at the Bikaner court were Ruknuddin and his son Shahadin.
Krishna & Radha, Bikaner, Rajasthan School of painting, 18th century A.D
Radha and Krishna, Kishengarh, Rajasthan School of painting
8. KISHENGARH
During the second quarter of the 18th century, there developed the most charming school of Rajasthani painting in Kishengarh under the patronage of Raja Savant Singh (1748-1757 A.D.) who wrote devotional poetry in praise of Krishna, under the assumed name of Nagari Das. Unfortunately only a small number of Kishengarh miniatures are available. Most of them are believed to have been done by the master painter Nihal Chand who, in his works, has been able to create visual images of his master's lyrical compositions. The artist has executed types of human figures, delicately drawn, with slender bodies and uptilted eyes.
A beautiful miniature of the Kishengarh School, from the National Museum collection is illustrated here. It portrays a lovely pastoral scene of the return of Krishna with gopas and cows to Gokula in the evening. The painting is marked by delicate drawing, fine modelling of the human figures and cows and the broad vista of landscape showing a stream, rows of overlapping trees, and architecture. The artist has displayed a masterly skill in the grouping of many figures in the miniature. The painting has a golden inner border. It is ascribed to the middle of the 18th century and may be the work of Nihal Chand the famous artist of Kishengarh.

V. THE PAHARI SCHOOLS (17TH TO 19TH CENTURIES)
The Pahari region comprises the present State of Himachal Pradesh, some adjoining areas of the Punjab, the area of Jammu in the Jammu and Kashmir State and Garhwal in Uttar Pradesh. The whole of this area was divided into small States ruled by the Rajput princes and were often engaged in welfare. These States were centres of great artistic activity from the latter half of the
17th to nearly the middle of the 19th century.
1. BASOHLI
The earliest centre of painting in the Pahari region was Basohli where under the patronage of Raja Kripal Pal, an artist named Devidasa executed miniatures in the form of the Rasamanjari illustrations in 1694 A.D. There is one more series of the Rasamanjari miniatures painted in the same style and almost of the same period but appears to be in a different hand. The illustrations of the two Rasamanjari series are scattered in a number of Indian and foreign museums. The Basohli style of painting is characterised by vigorous and bold line and strong glowing colours. The Basohli style spread to the various neighbouring states and continued till the middle of the 18th century.
An illustration from a series of Gita Govinda painted by artist Manaku in 1730 A.D. shows further development of the Basohli style. The miniature which is in the collection of the National Museum, depicts Krishna in the company of gopis in a grove on the bank of a river.
There is a change in the facial type which becomes a little heavier and also in the tree forms which assume a somewhat naturalistic character, which may be due to the influence of the Mughal painting. Otherwise, the general features of the Basohli style like the use of strong and contrasting colours, monochrome background, large eyes, bold drawing, use of beetles wings for showing diamonds in ornaments, narrow sky and the red border are observable in this miniature also.
Devi rides on a Chariot, Basohli, Pahari School of Painting

Portrait of Raja Bishen Singh of Guler, Pahari School of Painting
2. GULER
The last phase of the Basohli style was closely followed by the Jammu group. of paintings mainly consisting of portraits of Raja Balwant Singh of Jasrota (a small place near Jammu) by Nainsukh, an artist who originally belonged to Guler but had settled at Jasrota. He worked both at Jasrota and at Guler. These paintings are in a new naturalistic and delicate style marking a change from the earlier traditions of the Basohli art. The colours used are soft and cool. The style appears to have been inspired by the naturalistic style of the Mughal painting of the Muhammad Shah period.
At Guler, another State in the Pahari region, a number of portraits of Raja Goverdhan Chand of Guler were executed in circa 1750 A.D. in a style having close affinity with the portraits of Balwant Singh of Jasrota. They are drawn delicately and have a bright and rich palette.
The finest group of miniatures done in the Pahari region is represented by the famous series of the Bhagavata, the Gita Govinda, the Bihari Satasai, the Baramasa and the Ragamala, painted in 1760-70 A.D. The exact place of origin of these series of painting is not known. They might have been painted either at Guler or Kangra or any other nearby centre. The Guler portraits together with the Bhagavata and the other series have been grouped under a common title of "Guler Style" on the basis of the style of the Guler portraits. The style of these paintings is naturalistic, delicate and lyrical. The female type in these paintings is particularly delicate with well-modelled faces, small and slightly upturned nose and the hair done minutely. It is very likely that these paintings are in the hand of the master-artist Nainsukh himself or by one of his competent associates.

3. KANGRA
The Guler style was followed by another style of painting termed as the "Kangra style", representing the third phase of the Pahari painting in the last quarter of the 18th century. The Kangra style developed out of the Guler style. It possesses the main characteristics of the latter style, like the delicacy of drawing and quality of naturalism. The name Kangra style is given to this group of painting for the reason that they are identical in style to the portraits of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangra. In these paintings, the faces of women in profile have the nose almost in line with the forehead, the eyes are long and narrow and the chin is sharp. There is, however, no modelling of figures and hair is treated as a flat mass. The Kangra style continued to flourish at various places namely Kangra, GuIer, Basohli, Chamba, Jammu, Nurpur and Garhwal etc. Paintings of the Kangra style are attributed mainly to the Nainsukh family. Some of the Pahari painters found patronage in the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Sikh nobility in the beginning of the 19th century and executed portraits and other miniatures in a modified version of the Kangra style which continued till the middle of the 19th century.
Kangra, Pahari School of Painting

The lady and the crane, Kulu-Mandi, Rajasthan school of painting.
4. KULU - MANDl
Along with the naturalistic Kangra style in the Pahari region, there also flourished a folk style of painting in the Kulu-Mandi area, mainly inspired by the local tradition. The style is marked by bold drawing and the use of dark and dull colours. Though influence of the Kangra style is observed in certain cases yet the style maintains its distinct folkish character. A large number of portraits of the Kulu and Mandi rulers and miniatures on other themes are available in this style.
A miniature from the series of the Bhagavata in the collection of the National Museum was painted by Shri Bhagwan in 1794 A.D. Illustrations show Krishna lifting the Goverdhana mountain on his little finger to save the people of Gokula from the wrath of Indra who has let loose heavy rains. The dark clouds and rain in the form of white dotted lines are shown in the background. The drawing of figures is bold though rather stiff. The painting has a yellow floral border.
Another example of the Kulu painting is of two girls flying kites. The miniature is in the folk style of the late 18th century and is marked by bold drawing and dark and dull colour scheme. The background colour is dull blue. The girls are wearing the typical costumes and ornaments which prevailed in the Kulu region in that period. Two flying parrots indicate sky in a symbolic manner. The miniature belongs to the collection of the National Museum.

VI. ORISSA
The earliest surviving examples of miniature painting in Orissa appear to belong to the 17th century A.D. Some good examples of the paintings of this period are a court scene and four illustrated leaves of a manuscript of the Gita Govinda in the Asutosh Museum, Calcutta and an illutrated palm­leaf manuscript of the Ramayana in the National Museum.. An illustrated palm-leaf manuscript of the Bhagavata in the Asutosh Museum and a paper manuscript of the Gita Govinda in the National Museum are examples of the 18th century Orissa painting. In Orissa, palm-leaf continued to be used even upto the 19th century. The outline drawing was rendered with a stylus on the palm-leaf and then charcoal or ink was rubbed on the drawing. A few colours were sparingly used to fill in the designs. The technique of painting on paper was, however, different and was like the one used in other schools of painting. The early manuscripts display a neatness in drawing. Later on in the 18th century the line becomes bold and a little crude but the style in general is very decorative and ornamental.
An illustration from a series of the Gita Govinda of circa 1800 A.D. in the collection of the National Museum depicts Krishna and Radha. They stand face to face under the dropping branches of a slender tree, against a red background. The style is very decorative and is marked by bold drawing, stylisation of the tree, heavy ornamentation of figures and use of rich colour schemes. The Sanskrit text is given on the top.
Gita Govinda, Palm Leaf painting, Orissa

TECHNIQUE
Paintings were executed in the traditional tempera technique. After mixing colours in water along with a binding medium they were applied on the drawing. First, the sketch was freely drawn in red or black over which a white priming was given. The surface was thoroughly burnished till the outline showed clearly through it. Then a second outline was drawn with a fine brush. First the background was coloured and then the sky, buildings and trees, etc. Figures were painted last of all after which a final outline was drawn. When copies were made from perforated sketches by rubbing- charcoal powder, the dotted outline took the place of the first drawing. Colours used in paintings were obtained from minerals and ochres. Indigo was the vegetable colour. Lac-dye and red carmine were obtained from insects. Burnt conch shell and zinc white(safeda) were used as white colour. Lamp black and burnt ivory (Kajal) were used as black colour. Red ochre (geru), red lead (sindhura), lac-dye and red carmine were used as red colour, indigo and ultramarine were used for blue. Yellow ochre, orpiment and peori (extracted from urine of cows fed on mango-leaves) were used for yellow. Silver and gold were also used. Terraverte, malachite and verdigriz (Zangal) were used as green colour which was also obtained by mixing other colours. Gum arabic and neem gum were used as binding media in colours. Brushes were made of animal's hair. Fine brushes were made from squirrel's hair, the finest being of a single hair. Apart from palm leaf and paper, wood and cloth were also often used as materials for painting.
The traditional Indian painting started deteriorating after the first half of the 18th century and by the end of the century it lost most of its vitality and charm. However, in the Pahari region the art of painting maintained its quality till the end of the first quarter of the 19th century. Under the impact of the Western colours and technique of painting the traditional styles of Indian painting finally died out in the second half of the 19th century.

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