The Rajasthani painting, also known as Rajputana painting, the art is the same as the Rajput culture. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Rajputana kings were popular for their royal courts and the colorful walls, the Rajasthani art has evolved from the same.
Rural Artists of older times were trained in the tradition of the Mughal miniature, and the diversity is seen in the imperial Mughal court. The style used for drawing came from the local traditions of painting, and it illustrated the Hindu religious epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana.
History of Rajasthani painting:
While the Rajputana kingdom was divided into sections, each shared area had some specialty in their artform. Miniatures in manuscripts and single sheets which were kept in albums were the most famous artwork of Rajasthan.
The pictures were drawn on the walls of palaces, and from that time itself, the Canvas art of Rajasthan became quite popular. Apart from this, inner chambers of the forts, Havelis of Shekhawati Rajputs had intricate designs made by rarest stones famous across the globe.
Although the subjects varied, the portraits of the ruling family were related to hunting or their other daily activities. Hence all of it were generally accessible, and the other narrative scenes belonged to the epics of Hindu mythology and some other famous individuals.
Majorly the colors used for Rajasthani painting are extracted from certain minerals, plant sources, precious stones derivatives, and conch shells. Traditionally, gold and silver were used, but in the wall art available in India, uses the extracted tints of flowers.
The preparation of these colors is quite a lengthy process because, most of the time, it takes months. Also, the brushes used in Rajasthani paintings are very fine.
Schools of Rajasthani Paintings
Rajasthan paintings are the combination from down south came and their descendants mixed their crafts with local traditions and techniques. It spread across different geographic and political regions of the state which are classified into four schools:
- Mewar School: Paintings of this school derives various poses and manifestations of the deity and this is how all the local mythology and culture shapes the art at Mewar.
- Marwar School: The Miniature paintings of this school are well-known for its tales of the royal history and war scenes.
- Hadoti School: The elements of this Mughal art are brilliantly fused with it.
- Dhundar School: The area situated around Jaipur is called Dhundar. It includes a vast area of Northern Rajasthan and still remembered for its “Havelis” with vibrant frescoes.
Characteristics of Rajasthani Paintings
Rajasthani Paintings are fully made of natural colors extracted from minerals, plant body parts, valuable stones and shavings of gold and silver. The brush used for painting is made of hair from a squirrel’s tail or plant twigs. Paintings use silk, paper, wood and sometimes on marble and ivory for miniature paintings.
Facts about Rajasthani Painting:
The vibrant culture of Rajasthan is visible in their Phad painting style. This painting depicts the folk deities of the state, and it's a blend of both Mughal and Rajput style. Such indigenous artwork is rarely seen, and the surprising fact about this art is it's thousand years old, yet the most celebrated artists of modern times remember it.
The painting is detailed, and each corner of the canvas is covered, as it contains maximum human figures. The Phad painting is usually done on clothes, wherein a cloth is dried up by applying a paste of rice flour on it, to bring the shine. In modern times, Phad painting covers a whole wall, with human figures and objects, by giving an acrylic effect.
Yet another famous rajasthani painting is Mewar painting, and this painting usually covers male and female figures. The faces are oval, with elongated fish-like eyes, this painting style is also called an apabhramsa form. The traditional matkas and embroidered turbans are displayed beautifully in Mewar painting.
As the artists of that time never used artificial colors for painting, they were more comfortable in painting the pictures with twigs and squirrel hair. Moreover, most of the Rajasthani paintings are done on canvas and large murals. In the modern era, too, Rajasthani arts are visible in the City Palace of Udaipur.
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