Know the history of Indian Art

Know the history of Indian Art

Posted by Editor

Posted On: 4 Dec, 19

We live in a modernized era that is surrounded by gadgets and technology but it is always a joy to step back-in-time and read (as well as admire) the positive happenings in India. Though the Indian Art form has undergone a rapid transformation with time, it originated around five thousand years ago. This makes the history of Indian Art as old as its civilization as its origins were laid during 2500BC i.e. the Indus Valley Civilization.


When Indian art was originating, the majority of the Indian paintings drew inspiration from either spirituality or sensuality. Irrespective of the topic of the paintings, Indian artist always had an eye to perfection as far as aesthetics and content is concerned. Compared to other art forms, Indian Art and Indian paintings always stand-out in terms of the topics and subjects on which the paintings are based on.


There are varied forms of Indian Arts - Pottery, Painting, Sculpture, Textile arts, etc. The majority of these Indian art forms drew close inspiration & influence from religion and culture. India being a culturally diversified country, religious influences like Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, etc. played a role in the evolution of Indian arts as well as Indian paintings.

Each era resulted in evolution as far as Indian paintings are concerned but the roots of the artwork were still preserved. Below are some of the facts about the evolution of Indian paintings:


Ancient Era - This was the time between c. 3300 to 1300 BCE when the Indus Valley Civilization was at its peak and flourishing in the northwestern part of the country. Though this era can be dated back 75,000 years ago; there was still a prevalence of urban culture and technology in that era. As far as Indian art is concerned, breath-taking temple art and rock paintings were the highlights of the ancient era.


Influence of Islam - This is the time when the Mughal Empire was at its peak and ruled a major part of India from the 16th to the 19th century. The influence of Mughals declined after the Marathas came into power which also marks the start of British rule. There was a shift in the Indian art form in this era as there was an abundance of captivating Mughal style architecture.


Colonization - The rule of Alexander the Great from 327-326 BC and the establishment of direct trade links by Vasco Da Gama were the two major highlights of this era. This was also the time when the Maratha rule was on a steady decline. With the defeat of Tipu Sultan, governance of the British Empire spread like wildfire.


This was also the time when there was a heavy European influence on Indian art. The most vital contribution of this era to Indian art was the formation of the Bengal School of Art.


Post-Colonization and Independence - India finally became independent on 15th August 1947. By this time, India had witnessed major events like wars, partition, culture evolution, etc. These are some of the factors that have an impact on our art-work, especially paintings even today.


Though we have entered the era where modernization has crept in, we have still managed to preserve our rich culture and heritage. The same is also evident in our artwork.


Many of these traditional art forms, including Indian paintings, have passed down from one generation to another. The majority of these Indian paintings are based on themes like nature and mythology, but each type has its unique style & design.


Below are some of the Indian art forms that have not only managed to stay relevant but have also thrived in today’s times:


1. Madhubani Paintings - Madhubani paintings are also termed as Mithila paintings. This is a traditional style of painting that was developed in the Mithila region around Madhubani, Bihar, and Nepal. There is heavy usage of geometrical patterns, animal & bird motifs in Madhubani paintings.


These paintings were made on plastered mud walls and floors of huts but now the paintings are made on Cloth and Paper. Madhubani paintings mostly depict Gods and Goddesses like Krishna, Lakshmi, Durga, Shiva, Parvati, etc. in the paintings. Five major styles of Madhubani art are Godna, Bharni, Kohbar, Katchni, and Tantrik.


2. Mysore Paintings - This is an important art form from the Southern part of India and it originated during the Ajanta times. Mysore paintings gained more prominence under the patronage of the Vijayanagar Empire.


Mysore paintings revolve around Hindu Gods & Goddesses with a major focus on Hindu mythology. There is extensive usage of bright colors in these paintings. Gesso which is a mixture of gambose, glue, and white lead powder is also used as an embossing material for these paintings.


3. Rajasthani Paintings - These paintings are also called Rajput paintings. This painting style gained more prominence in the royal courts of Rajputana. Though each type of Rajasthani painting has its unique style, most of the themes are based around Ramayana.


The colors used for Rajasthani paintings are made from precious stones, plants, minerals, etc.


Apart from these styles, many other forms of Indian paintings like Kalighat paintings, Pahari paintings, Warli paintings, Tanjore paintings, etc. are still relevant in today’s times.


Adroitart is a leading online art gallery where you can buy authentic Indian paintings from renowned Indian artists. It also provides a platform for Indian artists to showcase their artistic talent and bridges the gap between the buyer (customer) & artist.


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