A Brief History of Miniature Paintings
Rajasthan was the first state in India to dicover miniature paintings. Evolved in the early 15th century, the artistic folk used it primarily as textual illustrations to Jain texts of Kalpa-Sutras. Indian literature profoundly influences the Miniatures Paintings. It is executed as illustrations to texts or as individual paintings. They were small-scale, highly detailed pictorial compositions. Often providing a true record of the social and cultural life of the time. As the Renaissance masters turned to the Bible, Indian painters turned to Mahabharata and Ramayana. Hence, they saw as their task bringing these stories into visual reality for those who may not be able to read.
Later several states of Rajasthan had developed their own individual styles of painting. The most prominent amongst them were Kota, Bundi, Bikaner, Kishangarh and Mewar and Jaipur. Once Rajasthani Miniature painting came into being, it progressed rapidly under local painters and the obvious feature in them was the Mughal style influence. But their art was very different in temperament and outlook. Part of this difference lay in the more lyrical approach of Rajasthani artists. The pleasure they derived from pure lines and colours. Therefore the variety and importance of Hindu deities. As the subject matter of Rajput painting marked another departure from Mughal art.
Features of Minature Paintings
Except for some scattered sheets of various texts and largely washed murals. Marwar has lost most of its early art heritage. The bulk of miniature paintings that depict the initial art style of Rajasthan. Moreover, in its most undiluted form, it is reportedly from Mewar. Bold lines, emotionally charged faces, sharp features, robust figures and basic bright colours. These are unique features of most miniature paintings.
In the miniature painting above, it shows an inscribtion of verse from Bhaagavata as seen in the top yellow border within an architectural feature. The scene is of Mathura where the evil king Kansa is giving instructions to Putana to go. Therefore, he kills Krishna the son both to Devaki and Vasudeva but now brought up by Nanda and Yashodha in Gokul.
How Artists Make Miniature Paintings?
The artists of minature painting, paints the picture with extremely fine brushes. It is drawn on paper or sometimes on ivory. Moreover they are made by inserting just a few strands of squirrels’ tail hair into bird feathers. It is not just the final act of painting, which required excellence. But preparation of the colors was another effort requiring patience and perseverance. Hence the colors were all derived from nature and many days of hard work. It would result in extraction of a miniscule amount of rich, beautiful color.
The extraction from the dried fruit of Peepal tree, orange from Palash flower, green from leaves and black from stones forms the colour red. The colour yellow had a interesting process of extraction. It was derived from the dried up urine of a sick cow. By boiling the metal with Saras (Camel musk) and water, it gives Gold or silver colours. It would be rubbed on a plate and ground by hand for 2-3 days to get a minimal amount of very fine, precious concoction. The colour is mixed with water and natural gum to prepare it for application. The painting is so small make sure that colour is extremely fine and uniform.
That even a tiny lump out of place would spoil it. Hence, make sure the consistency is absolutely even.
Therefore, sometimes months were spent only in grinding the colour into a smooth paste.
Miniature Paintings Masterclass at Rajasthan Studio
At our miniature painting masterclass, Asharam Meghwal will take you into the world of royals using vibrant colors and intricate details. Meghwal has created this artform for over 45 years. Asharam has been felicitated with the prestigious National Award for his unparalleled contribution to the artform. Hence, he has mastered 12 variants of holding paint brushes. He loves to teach its tricks to amateur painters to refine their skills in less time. Also he draws inspiration from the history and folktales of Rajasthan.
Join the award-winning artist for a hands-on workshop on miniature painting in his studio as he paints the history of Rajasthan. In the same way together you can create a masterpiece that you can take back home with you! You can find more information about the class here.
Know more about Rajasthan Studio’s Miniature Painting Masterclasses
The paintings depict beautiful palace or forest scenes from the artists imagination, on small pieces of silk or paper. A better check out these paintings make it easy to urge lost during a world of detail. Therefore, the fineness and intricacy values the painting. Therefore the amount of your time and energy that goes into it. Today, they are using synthetic paints and readymade brushes frequently. But the painting style remains the same always.
The craftsmen sometimes still use natural colors for painting. Although their extraction process is much faster and more efficient. The highly experienced master craftsmen use marble as a base, also it is used as a substitute for ivory. The rest use paper or silk, which they sometimes dip in tea water to give a sepia tinge.
Also follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art content. Reach out to us on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This blog is curated by Rajasthan Studio and written by Samira sarin.