The Rajasthani School of painting is deeply rooted in 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.
This school of painting had influence in Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh in the present time, such as Mewar, Bundi, Kota, Jaipur, Bikaner, Kishangarh, Jodhpur (Marwar), Malwa, Sirohi and other such principalities largely between the sixteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Salient features of Rajasthani paintings
- This style of painting is deeply rooted in Indian traditions.
- The cults of Vaishnavism, Saivism and Saktiexercised tremendous influence on the pictorial art of this school.
- Various cults of Krishna 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.
- The Rajasthani School of painting is marked by bold drawing, strong and contrasting colors.
- 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.
- Apart from depicting stories from the Ramayana and the royal lifestyle of kings and queens were also depicted.
- They also portrayed social values and the changes introduced by kings for the betterment of society. The background of the paintings formed a special feature of the Rajasthani School.
- Paper, ivory and silk was used as their canvas in this school of painting.
Bundi School of painting
- This style of painting is dated back to 1625 AD.
- A painting showing Bhairavi Ragini, in the Allahabad Museum is one of the earliest examples of Bundi painting.
- Themes from the life of Krishna is a major theme in this school of painting.
- Example for the above is, Rasikapriya of the late 17th century, which 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 aquatic birds. The painting has a border in brilliant red colour.
Salient characteristic of Bundi school of painting
- The salient characteristic of this school of painting is 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.
Malwa School of painting
It flourished between 1600 and 1700 CE and is most representative of the Hindu Rajput courts. Unlike the specificity of Rajasthani schools that emerged and flourished in precise territorial kingdoms and courts of their respective kings, Malwa School defies a precise centre for its origin and instead suggests a vast territory of Central India. This conservative style disappeared after the close of the 17th century.
Salient features of Malwa form of painting
- Malwa paintings show a fondness for rigorously flat compositions, black and chocolate-brown backgrounds, figures shown against a solid colour patch, and architecture painted in lively colour.
- The school’s most appealing features are a primitive charm and a simple childlike vision.
- An illustrated version of the Rasikapriyā (1634) was the earliest work in this style, followed by a series illustrating a Sanskrit poem called the Amaru Śataka (1652).
- Additionally, there were illustrations of the musical modes (Ragamala), the Bhagavata-Puraṇa, and other Hindu devotional and literary works.
Mewar School of Painting
- The Mewar school of painting is a Rajasthani style of Indian miniature painting developed in the Hindu principality of Mewar during the 17th and 18th centuries.
- The works of this school are known for their simple bright colors and direct emotional appeal.
Salient features of Mewar School of Painting
- The earliest example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamala painted in 1605 CE at Chawand by Misardi, which can be found in the collection of Shri Gopi Krishna Kanoria.
- Other works in this style include illustrations of the Rasikapriyā, the Amaru Śataka, the Bhagavata-Puraṇa, and other Hindu devotional and literary works.
- One famous painting from the Malwa region of Rajasthan depicts Ravana begging Sita for alms.
- The expressive and vigorous style of Mewar painting continued with some variations through 1680, after which Mughal influence became more apparent.
- While religious themes remained popular, an increasing number of paintings focused on portraiture and the life of the ruler.
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