Rajasthani School of Painting

The Rajasthani School of painting 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.

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

Indian Paintings

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. 

Indian Paintings

Figure: 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 this 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.
  • The earliest work in this style is an illustrated version of the Rasikapriyā(1634), followed by a series illustrating a Sanskrit poem called the Amaru Śataka (1652).
  • There are also illustrations of the musical modes (Ragamala), the Bhagavata-Puraṇa, and other Hindu devotional and literary works.

Indian Paintings

Figure: Ravana begging sita for Alms, Malwa, Rajasthan School of painting

Mewar school of painting

Mewar painting is one of the most important schools of Indian miniature painting of the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a school in the Rajasthani style and was developed in the Hindu principality of Mewar (in Rajasthan state).

Salient features of this school of painting

  • The works of the school are characterized by simple bright colour and direct emotional appeal.
  • The earliest example of Mewar painting is a series of the Ragamalapainted in 1605 CE 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.
  • The expressive and vigorous style continued with some variations through 1680 in the region, after which time Mughal influence became more apparent.
  • An increasing number of paintings were concerned with portraiture and the life of the ruler, though religious themes were popular

Indian Paintings

Figure: A painting depicted in the style of Mewar School of painting