The people of Rajasthan have maintained their cultures and civilizations despite urbanization and industrialization. The Rajputs have been famous for for their bravery and sacrifice. In the land of the elephants and the camels, palaces and fortifications, famous, folk dances, traditional clothes and singing songs in mighty sand dunes have changed the face of Indian history through these royal artforms of Rajasthan.
In the medieval era, Rajasthani paintings had the support of kings of various Rajasthan regions. It made them well-known by Rajputana paintings. Rajasthan’s most famous themes were religious. In making these drawings, natural and organic colors were in use which contained no false pigments. The color obtained generally from fossils, plants, precious stones and gold and silver clippings. The fur made from the tail of the squirrel or twigs was used to make the brushes.
1. Miniature Paintings
The Mughals initiated the practise of miniature painting in India, bringing out Persia’s much-revealed art. Many well-trained Indian artists have produced paintings influenced by Mughals’ royal and love lives in modern and unique designs. The miniature of Indian artists is called the Rajput or the Rajasthani miniature, in their own style. For their drawings, they used canvas, panels for ivory, wooden tablets, leather, marble, fabric and walls. In contrast to their Western counterparts in their sketches, Indian artists employed several viewpoints.
A renowned miniature artist and state award winner, Mohan Kumar Prajapati started painting at the age of 10. He is trained by his father. He paints miniatures based on Indian mythology, specifically Radha and Krishna. Also, he paints several gods and goddesses, humans, fauna and flora. He has also adopted the Mysore and Tanjore styles of painting, giving his works a definite beauty.
2. Kishangarh School of Painting
A key characteristic of Kishangarh School of art was an unrealistic attribute. It represented the aristocratic societies of the era back then. The majority of the paintings depicted angled portraits of members of the royal family. This included kings and queens, rulers, and priests that added more to the royal artforms of Rajasthan.
The work of the Rajputs had a religious faith. They believe to have influenced the image of Bani Thani by the figure of Radha. Bani Thani is also to keep lotus buds in her hand that symbolise her purity, similar to the purity of the goddess Radha. The custom of the Rajasthani culture is also included in the portrait where the woman is dressed like a bride adorning pearl jewellery and Rajasthani ‘dupatta’ or scarf on the head. This covers half of her face and is posed angularly to depict a graceful and royal woman called “Bani Thani”.
Shakir Ali is a Jaipur-born painter and artist, famous for his paintings in the Kishangarh School of art and influenced by Mughal and Persian backgrounds. In 2013, the Government of India recognised him for his contribution to the field of art and awarded him the fourth order of merit, “Padma Shri”.
3. Phad Paintings
Phad is a style of scroll painting that tells complex religious stories of local gods and deities. These traditional works were created as travelling or moving temples, borne by Rabari priests singing the tales of their local deities. After the sun rose, and the presentation before the villagers would last in the evening, the Phad paintings would be unrolled or unfolded. This is why the paintings are labelled as “Phad,” which in the local language means “fold.”
Today, the Joshi family members are the veteran painters of Rajasthan who continue this artwork. Out of which, Kalyan Joshi began to apply his own distinctive voice to this storytelling practise and was welcomed to do so. Since the original paintings were made up of many tales that comprised the whole narrative, Kalyan Joshi inspired the idea of painting only one of the mini-stories in smaller Phad paintings. He also used written text in his paintings, which was not common in typical Phad paintings. The scale of Phad paintings has been drastically reduced to meet the demands and constraints of space in modern homes which is a huge blow to all royal artforms of Rajasthan.
4. Gemstone Paintings
As the name says, the Gemstone painting consists of genuine or semi-precious gemstones. Emerald, Amethyst, Jade, Diamond, multi-coloured Sapphire, Lapiz Lazuli and Pearl are the actual stones included. They are then grounded to fine dust and positioned by the point of a fine tool and placed on the back of an acrylic or glass cover. Since the gemstones used in the paintings are all natural, their colour can never fade.
The job is performed solely by hand and thus no equipment is used. Therefore, the artist’s talent and accuracy is obviously, of the highest significance. The creativity and aesthetic meaning instruct the artists in their works by carefully bringing the topics to life. The importance of a radiantly shining portrait done with brightly coloured stones is the charm of creation. Many local artists make a small business through Gemstone Paintings. They make them in bulk but less demands. There are not many renowned artists who can promote this stone art to help reach a global audience.
After all the wonderful learnings, we tend to observe that Rajasthani paintings feature detailed outlines, fine craftsmanship, the use of precise brush strokes and the application of bold colours which capture the attention of all. And not just that, Royal artforms of Rajasthan also have a brilliant paint assortment. It is extremely beautiful which celebrates continuously by all the magical hands of the artists of Rajasthan who always make the best of efforts to express Rajasthan’s essence into art.
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