Rajasthan or the land of kings, still speaks about the grandeur , valor and beauty of Indian heritage in volumes. Temples, forts, palaces, gardens, lakes, huge walls and also decorated lanes exemplify the grandeur of Rajasthan. The artistic gifts of Rajasthan are rich with its profound art, music and dance styles. Not only the Rajputs have influenced the painting styles of Rajasthan but also the Mughals and saints of the Bhakti Movement have contributed to it. Most paintings belong to the 17th century. As a result, there are also different schools of Rajasthani paintings.
Motifs of Rajasthani Paintings
The motifs of Rajput paintings mostly revolve around the mythological tales and natural scenic view. Markedly, human figures like the kings, queen, courtiers and royal court paintings talk about the glory of Rajputs. Likewise, the landscape view of forts, palaces, gardens, lakes and huge walls talk about the architectural wonders of the state. The natural scenic elements include flora and fauna of that region like the flowers, trees, birds, animals, moon, sun etc. Above all, the Krishna Leelas have predominated some of the painting styles. Owing to the Bhakti movement and increase in Vaishnavism, Lord Krishna and his related elements from mythology became a popular choice among the artists. Ramayana and Mahabharata were also inspirational sources for the artists. Additionally, lyrical renditions of Saint Kabir, Mirabai, Tulsidas and others were painted because of the Bhakti Movement.
Schools of Rajasthani Paintings
Broadly, there are schools of Rajput paintings based on the regions. Furthermore, distinctive styles are practiced in each school based on the cities or districts covered under the region.
1.The Mewar School
- Chavand style
- Nathdwara style
- Devgarh style
- Udaipur style
- Sawar style
2. The Marwar School
- Kishangarh style
- Bikaner style
- Jodhpur style
- Nagaur style
- Pali style
- Ghanerao style
3. The Hadoti School
- Kota style
- Bundi style
- Jhalawar style
4. The Dhundar school
- Amber style
- Jaipur style
- Shekhawati style
- Uniara style
1. The Mewar School of Painting
Firstly, it was the most important school of painting dating back to the 17-18 th century. The Mewar’s School paintings depict flamboyant colored figures with different scenes from mythological stories. Most paintings belong to this school of painting. It encompasses natural to human elements. Evidently, each of the paintings portray exquisite and intricate details.
Sahibdin was one of the most brilliant painters of the mediaeval period. Mohan Das was another remarkable painter.
The female sketch is smaller than male sketch. The nose is long with fish shaped eyes while the faces are oval in shape. This resembles Apabhramsa style. The dress code of women is Chaniya-Choli with transparent veils and embroidered turbans and Patkas for men.
2. The Marwar School of Painting
Marwar painting revolves around royal and romantic themes. The Rathore clan founded Jodhpur in 1459. Jodhpur painting styles depict sand dunes, camels, horses,deer and crows.
In contrast , Bikaner painting style is inspired from Krishna Leelas, Bhagwat Puran and Ragamala.
A Diverse Stroke – Multi-Style Painting With Lal Singh Bhati
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Kishangarh School of Painting
Kishan Singh founded Kishangarh in the early 17th century. Sawant Singh was a major pioneer of the artistic development at Kishangarh. He was a poet, scholar and critic. Hindi, Sanskrit and Persian were the languages in which he wrote with the pen name Nagari Das.He wrote fifty books including the ‘Rasachandrika‘, ‘Bihari Chandrika’, ‘Utsavmala‘, ‘Padamuktavali‘ and ‘Rasik Ratnavali’.
Nagari Das was Lord Krishna’s devotee. Nagari Das’s love for her singer(Bani Thani), whom his step mother had appointed , was so deep that Nihal Chand, as a result, painted the famous painting Bani-Thani. The style of adorning Bani Thani is similar to Radhaji in the painting. Bani Thani is titled India ‘s Monalisa. Nihal Chand portrayed an image of idol lady. He chose Radha ji, Krishna ‘s lover to convey the idea.
1.The romantic life of Radha and Krishna,influenced by the Geet-Govinda of Jaydev and stories from Bhagvat Puran.
2.Markedly,a lock of hair passing near the ear is a specialty of Kishangarh painting.
3.The elegance and beauty of women is best in Kishangarh among all the Rajasthani Paintings.
3. Bundi Style of Painting
Rao Surjan Singh developed Bundi. It encompasses almost all themes of Rajasthan. From Krishnaleelas, Ramleelas to hunting scenes. Additionally, the lifestyle of royals, battle fields,festivals and horse races are favorites among Bundi artists. Natural motifs include flowers, trees , birds , fruits, animals etc.
Chitrashala or the Bundi School of Miniature painting made under the reign of Maharao Ummed Singh which is a UNESCO world heritage site, still attracts many global artists.
In a Nutshell:
There are a plethora of art styles not only in paintings but in crafts as well. Undoubtedly ! Rajasthan is a land of royals and artisans. The credit of major influence on the Rajasthani painting styles goes to Mewar style, Marwar style and Bundi. From human figures to little intricacies or grandeur of great landscapes, all glorify the history and beauty of culture and heritage of Rajasthan.
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