It is a broad name that is given to the miniature style of painting that developed during 12th and 16th century in Western and Central India. Its subjects were initially Jaina religious figures, but later it emerged as a Vaishnavite form of painting. They were generally done on palm leaves earlier, but later paper was also used a medium. Figures were shown for the most part from a frontal view, with the head in profile. The facial type, with its pointed nose, was related to that seen in wall paintings at Ellora (mid-8th century) and was remarkably close to medieval sculpture. Another feature was the projecting ‘further eye’, which extends beyond the outline of the face in profile. It later also influenced Mewar style of Rajput miniatures and various other schools as well.


This school of painting originated from Cheriyal, a place situated in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a modernized and stylized version of Nakashi art. A rich scheme of colours is used to depict the scrolls of narrative format from mythology and folklore.


The first region in India to saw the emergence of such style was the Madras Presidency. They wanted to capture the images to send or take back home and thus they gradually became the new patrons of the Indian art. These new patrons wanted that the artists depict Indian life and scenes but in a medium of their own liking. Thus, a synthetic style was born in which the Indian artists imitated the English style of paintings. The most important early production centre was Calcutta. Here the main patrons of the art were Lord Impey (Chief justice of the High Court) and LordWellesley (Governor General). Delhi company style painting is also special as the artists here used the Ivory as base for paintings, while at other places mostly paper was used. The company style of paintings was not a Pan-India phenomenon. This style developed in some cities only. Later, the style was subject to the competition with other styles and photography. The
worst blow to the Company Style Paintings was given by the advent of Photography in early 1840s.


Decorative painting on walls of homes even in rural areas is a common sight. Rangoli or decorative designs on floor are made for auspicious occasions and pujas whose stylized designs have been passed on from one generation to the other. The designs are called rangoli in the North, alpana in Bengal, aipan in Uttaranchal, rangavalli in Karnataka, Kollam in Tamilnadu and mandana in Madhya Pradesh. Usually rice powder is used for these paintings but coloured powder or flower petals are also used to make them more colourful. Other examples of the decorative art are – Mithila painting or Madhubani paintings, Warli paintings etc.


It was a pre-cursor to Rajput style, main subjects were from Vaishnavite tradition. Natural elements like land, horizon, rivers were given special attention. Rag-mala series is a famous one in this style.


Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in parts of India especially in Andhra Pradesh. The literal meaning of Kalamkari is a painting done by kalam (pen). The kalam made out of a bamboo sliver wound at one section with wool and then dyed with natural colours. Black ink is used to make outlines, and jaggery, rusted iron filings and water are used for making colours to fill in details. Natural materials are used to create a work of art by extracting colours from plant roots, leaves, along with salts of iron, tin, copper, alum etc.
These paintings are made on cloth. This art is mainly related to decorating temple interiors with painted cloth panels, which was developed in the fifteenth century under the patronage of Vijaynagar rulers. Subjects are adopted from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and Hindu religious mythology. Owing to Muslim rulers in Golconda, the Masulipatnam kalamkari was widely influenced by Persian motifs and designs in the 17th with the depiction of trees, fruits, flowers and ornamental birds.
There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India –
I. Srikalahasti style – The Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari, wherein the ‘kalam’ or pen is used for free hand drawing of the subject and filling in the colours, is entirely hand worked.
II. Machalipatnam style – Owing to Muslim rulers in Golconda, the Masulipatnam kalamkari was widely influenced by Persian motifs and designs.
This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the great Hindu epics – Ramayana, Mahabarata etc.


Kalighat painting originated in the 19th century colonial Bengal, in the vicinity of Kali Temple, Kalighat, Kolkata, and from being items of souvenir taken by the visitors to the Kali temple, the paintings over a period of time developed as a distinct school of Indian painting.
Patua/cloth painters from rural Bengal came and settled in Kalighat to make images of gods and goddesses in the early nineteenth century. Among the deities that the Kalighat artists painted, the goddess Kali was a favorite. However, the painters effectively portray a wide range of subjects commenting on the social life of Bengal. Kalighat paintings are often referred to as the first works of art that came from Bengal.
It is characterized by generously curving figures of both men and women and an earthy satirical style. Kalighat pata pictures are highly stylised, do not use perspective. Traditionally, the figures in scroll paintings looked flat, not rounded. Now Kalighat painters began to use shading to give them a rounded form, to make the images look three-dimensional. Yet the images were not realistic and lifelike. Kalighat paintings depict social life under British rule. Often the artists mocked at the changes they saw around, ridiculing the new tastes of those who spoke in English and adopted Western habits, dressed like sahibs, smoked cigarettes, or sat on chairs. They made fun of the westernised baboo, criticised the corrupt priests, and warned against women moving out of their homes.


Madhubani painting or Mithila painting is a style of Indian painting, practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar state, India and the adjoining parts of Terai in Nepal. Madhubani painting has been done traditionally by the women of villages around the present town of Madhubani (the literal meaning of which is forests of honey) and other areas of Mithila. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.
Madhubani paintings also use two dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.
Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.


Malwa School (In present day Madhya Pradesh) was one of the most conservative Rajput Painting Schools in the 17th century. Rasikpriya, dated 1634, and Ramayana dated 1650 are the earliest examples from this school. Use of flat planes of bright colors is one of the main features of these works of art. Subjects were mainly taken from Vaishnav themes.
Malwa paintings emphasized on strong colors like deep blues, reds and browns and bold lines. Remote Mughal influence was also evident in the paintings. Rasabeli and Bhagavata Purana are some of the other notable illustrated works from this school.


The distinct school of Mysore painting emerged from this legacy around the time of the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings 1336-1565 CE. When Vijayanagara Kingdom declined, painters migrated to Mysore and other kingdom and a distinct school emerged under patronage of Wodeyars of Mysore.
Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology.More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer.
Mysore Paintings are characterized by delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf.
Gesso work was the hallmark of all traditional paintings of Karnataka. Gesso refers to the paste mixture of white lead powder, gambose and glue which is used as an embossing material and
covered with gold foil. The gesso work in Mysore paintings is low in relief and intricate as compared to the thick gold relief work of the Tanjore School.


Paitkar paintings or scroll paintings of Jharkhand constitute one of the most popular tribal crafts of the state of Jharkhand. The Paitkar paintings at Jharkhand are one of the most ancient schools of triabal painting in the entire country of India.


Pattachitra refers to the folk painting of the state of Odisha made primarily on cloth in the eastern region of India. ‘Patta’ in Sanskrit means ‘Vastra’ or ‘clothing’ and ‘chitra’ means paintings.
The tradition of Pattachitra is closely linked with the worship of Lord Jagannath. The theme of this Odishan painting centres round the Vaishnava cult. The subject matter of Patta Chitra is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore. Themes are chiefly on Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, and other mythological characters.
The painters use vegetable and mineral colours without going for factory made poster colours. Red and Ochre are predominant colors that are used in this.


The Patua is a community found in West Bengal. Some Patuas are Hindus, while others are Muslims and Buddhists. Patua art is from Bengal and like Patachitra of Orissa, this is also traditionally made on cloth or paper scroll. Themes of these paintings are ‘Mangal Kavyas’ aur auspicious songs.


Rajasthan the land of colors is known for Phad painting, which is done on cloth. This type of painting is mainly found in the Bhilwara district. The main theme of these paintings is the depiction of local deities and their stories, and legends of erstwhile local rulers. Phad is a type of scroll painting and can be upto 30 feet. These paintings are created while using bright and subtle colors.
The outlines of the paintings are first drawn in block and later filled with vegetable colors. The unique features of phad paintings are the bold lines and a two dimensional treatment of figures with the entire composition arranged in sections. Generally, stories are told through Phads and every inch of space is used for filling characters in it.Customarily, these are carried by Bhopa – folk religious singers – who carry them along like a mobile temple.


Pithora Paintings are the paintings done on wall by the tribals – Rathwas, Bhilals, and Naykas – in the areas of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. They signify the advent of an auspicious occasion (like weddings, childbirth, festivals) in the family or community.
Pithora Painting can be called a ritual rather that an art form for it is ‘performed’ to thank God or for a wish or a boon to be granted.


Ragamala Paintings are a series of illustrative paintings from medieval India based on Ragamala or the ‘Garland of Ragas’, depicting various Indian musical modes, Ragas. They stand as a classical example of the amalgamation of art, poetry and classical music in medieval India.
Ragamala paintings were created in most schools of India painting, starting in the 16th and 17th centuries and are today named accordingly, as Pahari Ragamala, Rajasthan or Rajput Ragamala, Deccan Ragamala, and Mughal Ragamala.
In these painting each raga is personified by a colour, mood, a verse describing a story of a hero and heroine (nayaka and nayika).
Specific Hindu deities are attached with the raga like Bhairava or Bhairavi to Shiva, Sri to Devi etc. The paintings depict not just the Ragas, but also their wives, (raginis), their numerous sons (ragaputra) and daughters (ragaputri).


Rangoli is a folk art from India. Rangoli are decorative designs made on the floors of living rooms and courtyards during Hindu festivals. They are meant to be sacred welcoming areas for the Hindu deities.
Rangoli is common to the whole of Indian and is known by different names in different parts of the country –Alpana in Bengal, Aripana in Bihar, Madana in Rajasthan, Rangoli in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Chowkpurana in Uttar Pradesh and Kolam in South India.

This is an art form of the tribals in Rayagada and Koraput districts of Odisha. It is done on the inside walls of the homes to mark some auspicious occasion like birth, marriage, harvest etc. Painting is done by simple colors like Soot and Grounded rice.
It is near Trichy. It is site of an ancient Jain Monastry famous for its murals that were probably produced during 9th century during Pandyan period.


The two schools of miniature paintings of south India viz. the Mysore Paintings and Tanjore Paintings are offshoots of the earlier Vijayanagar School of Painting.
Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur/Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1500-1600 AD, dating back to Chola rulers, but the Nayakas of Tanjavur gave final shape to Tanjore paintings.
Essentially serving as devotional icons, the themes of most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses, and saints as well. Tanjore paintings are in fact panel paintings done on solid wood planks. Relief work gives a 3 Dimensional look to the painting.
The process of making a Tanjore painting involves many stages.
 The first stage involves the making of the preliminary sketch of the image on the base. The base consists of a cloth pasted over a wooden base.
 Then chalk powder is mixed with water-soluble adhesive and applied on the base.
 After the drawing is made, decoration of the jewellery and the apparels in the image is done with semi-precious stones.
 On top of this, the gold foils are pasted to make the paintings last for generations.
 Finally, dyes are used to add colors to the figures in the paintings.
High-quality gold foil is used to ensure that the paintings last generations. They generally appreciate in value and are considered collectibles.
The figures in Tanjore paintings are static. The figures are housed in the center of the board, inside beautifully decorated arches or curtains.


Mysore paintings generally depict the Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. This style is also known for the heavy Gesso Work. MYSORE TANJORE
Patorns were Wodeyars of Mysore
Patorns were Nayakas of Tanjore
In Mysore paintings, the work is low in relief and intricate
In Tanjore school, the Gesso work is little thicker
Mysore has no gem settings and glass embellishments
Tanjore Has gem settings and glass embellishments
In Mysore, base is paper on Cloth
In Tanjore it is wood Cloth with wood as base.
Both were offshoots of Vijaynagar school of painting, as painters of declining Vijaynagar school migrated to these areas


The imagery of these paintings revolves around the life of Buddha and themes pertaining to the mystic sect of Buddhism i.e. Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana Sect. These paintings are painted on silk or cotton using various bright colors of different hues. These are a novel
quality work of art hand painted by trained Tibetan and Nepali artists. They are predominantly used for wall hangings.
In India Ladakh is a region where thangka paintings are done with great elan, while it also practiced in Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. These paintings have a strong Tibetan influence and have ritual connotations.


The Vijaynagar School was basically known for frescoes & murals of the various mythological themes of Hindu deities on the temple walls and ceilings, and was itself inspired by Ajanta.
Vijayanagar art includes wall-paintings of the Dashavatara (The Ten Avatars of Vishnu) and the Girijakalyana (marriage of Parvati) at the Virupaksha (a form of Shiva) Temple at Hampi.
The paintings of the Vijayanagar represent the great revival of Hindu religion and art in South India. During the Vijayanagar era, the wall paintings made a comeback.
The best representation of these paintings can be seen in the Virabhadra temple at Lepakshi.
The Vijayanagar paintings have also covered the ceiling of the great Virupaksha temple at Hampi and the themes of them are generally religious.
As soon as the Vijaynagar Empire fell, the painters started migrating to Thanjavur, Mysore etc and led to birth of Mysore School of painting and Tanjore School of painting.


Warli paintings are made by the people of Warli tribe inhabiting in the Thane district of Modern Maharashtra. Warli paintings are strikingly different from other forms of Indian Paintings.
The theme of these paintings also does not move around mythological stories or any glorification of similar kind. These paintings are made in austere brown background with white as only color. The only exception is red and yellow spots that are auspiciously put to decorate the painting.
Figures are made in a geometric pattern like squares, triangles, and circles. Dots and crooked lines are the units of these compositions. These paintings describe the day today activities of Warlis in light swinging and swirling movements and are made on auspicious occasions. Planting
saplings, carrying grain, dancing, travelling to market and other routine activities of their daily lives are depicted. Symbols of the sun, moon and stars along with plants, animals, insects and birds show their belief in the integration of all forms of life.
On ritual and ceremonial occasions Warli home walls are plastered with dung. Rice paste is used with red ochre powder to tell stories and to invoke the blessings of their goddess of fertility, Palaghata. Warli paintings are made by village artists, usually women

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