Painting is a powerful medium of expressing inner feeling and thoughts of human beings. It signifies the prevalent social belief and culture of the contemporary period.
Beginning of Rajasthani art of painting took place in between 10th to 15th century in Mewar. The grandeur of Rajasthani painting was first highlighted through a book ‘Rajput Painting’ written by Shri Anand Kumar Swami. Shri Besligre recognized the name of ‘Rajput Painting’ as an apt representative of Rajasthani art.
Books like Aaghaniryukti Vriti and Dashvaikalik Sutra Churni dated Vikram Samvat 1117 and 1160 are stored in Jaisalmer. These are prominent work in the field of Indian art.
STYLES OF RAJASTHANI PAINTINGS
MEWAR SCHOOL – Nathdwara, Devgarh, Udaipur, Savar, Bengu, Bagaur, Kelwa sub-styles.
- Udaipur Sub-style
Theme: It is the oldest and original form of Rajasthani painting. The portrayal of men and women is wealthy and good looking with sharp facial features. Moustache of men and decorated tender body of women is shown. Colorful bold depiction of nature. Influence of Mughal art was also seen.
Style: Painting consist of manuscript written over the top in black color with a yellow background.
- ‘Shraavak Pratikramansutra Churni’ was first such work of this style developed in 1260 A.D during the rule of Maharaj Tej Singh.
- Golden period of Mewar style is during the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh I. An amalgamation of Mughal and Mewar style was seen. Some famous work involves: Raagmala (1628 AD), Rasik Priya (1628-30 AD), Ramayan (1649 AD). He also built factory of paintings by the name ‘Chitoron ki Ovari’.
- Supasana Charyam (1422-23 AD) and Kalpsutra (1526 AD)
- During reign of Mharaja Raj Singh (1652-1680), paintings were created based on the stories of Kadambari, Panchatantra and Malti-Madhav.
- Paintings based upon Bihari Satsai, Prithviraj Raso, Durga Saptshati and Bhakt-Ratnavali.
- Famous work of Nuruddin ‘Kaliya Daman’ was crafted during the period Maharana Sangram Singh II.
Famous Artists: Manohar, Nasiruddin, Sahibdin, Kriparam, Jivaram.
- Nathdwara Sub-Style
Theme: This sub-style started with the foundation of Shri Nath ji temple in Nathdwara. It holds the beauty of combination of Mewar and Braj cultural tradition. It involves Rajput, Mewar and Kishangarh style.
Style: Paintings were mainly based on childhood life of Krishna. The colors used in Pichhwai style are yellow and green.
Major Work: It flourished during the rule of Maharana Raj Singh. The work involves wall depiction of Krishna Bal Leela.
Famous Artists: Ghasiram, Chaturbhuj, Udairaj, Champalal. Two prominent women artists were Ilayachi and Kamla.
- Devgarh Sub-Style
Theme: Pictures related to hunting, goath (picnic-feast), harem, royal lavishness and shringar.
Style: Paintings are drawn figures of male-female formed of thick and balanced lines. The yellow color was used in abundance. A sub-style under Mewar painting style. It was first discovered by Dr Sridhar Andhare.
Major Work: Rawat of Devgarh- Dwarkadas Chundavat contributed a lot in development of this style of painting.
Famous Artists: Bajinath and Chokh
MARWAR SCHOOL – Bikaner, Jodhpur, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Nagaur, Sirohi, Jaisalmer, Ghanerav, Junian
- Jodhpur Sub -Style
Theme: Paintings feature sand dunes, small spiky bushes, animals like deer, camel, crow, horse and royal displays.
Style: Woman with slender hands and long falling hairs in lehnga, kanchali, loogari. While men wearing churidar pyjama. Colors used were saffron, red, yellow, blue. The background was adorned with mango trees, clouds, vivid lightening.
- Paintings of Dhola-Maru, Ujali-Jethva, Mumalde-Nihalde, Roopmati-Baajbahadur.
- Jodhpur style got recognized independently during the period of Rao Maldev. It includes a famous painting on Uttaradhyayan Sutra (1500 AD) which is now found in Vadodara Museum in Gujarat. Most of the paintings based on objects related to mythological tales.
- Further development took place during the reign of Ajeet Singh (1707 AD), paintings on Rasikpriya, Geet Govind, view of royal palace and hunting were made.
- Maharaja Man Singh (1803AD) was the last key supporter of this style and therefore work found during his period involved well-structured male and female figures, ornaments and turban, shield and swords. It also captured on the masculinity and lavishness of royal people.
Famous Artists: Veerji Narayan Das, Amardas, Bhishandas, Shiv Das, Jeetmal.
- Bikaner Sub-Style
Theme: It was mainly based on Bhagwad Geeta, Krishna Leela, Raagmala and Barahmasa, Meghdoot, Rasikpriya. It depicted beauty of royal splendor, portraits, court, hunting.
Style: It is considered as miniature style of south because it portrayed fountains, nature and royal luxury. Yellow color was abundantly used. Another specialty was art work on camel-hide. A distinct feature was that painters always used to mark their name and date on their piece of art.
- The earliest painting was ‘Bhagwat Puran’ made during Maharaja Rai Singh’s times.
- It blossomed mainly during the period of Maharaja Anoop Singh. He was a great patron of art.
- Hisamuddin Usta performed ‘Usta Art’ on camel skin which still exists today. His descendants do ‘Meenakari work’ on camel skin.
- Popular art reviewer Herman Goetz has contributed a lot in conserving this style.
- Shri Anand Kumar Swami has applauded Bikaneri painting style in his books.
Famous Artists: Ruknuddin, Rahim Khan, Nathu, Murad, Kayam, Ramlal and Aliraja.
- Kishangarh Sub-Style
Theme: Natural beauty, banana trees, scenes of lake, swan and duck, floating boats, and Radha Krishna conversing with each other.
Style: Main Characteristics are long face, black long hair, pointed nose, petal like lips, tight breast, transparent clothes, firm postures. Male with slender body structure, with high forehead, circular turban and gemstones studded chains. Colors used were white, pink and orange.
- It began during the period of Raja Roop Singh.
- Sawant Singh was an enthusiast of the art. He came to be known as Nagari Das. His beloved Bani-Thani and theme based on Vaishnav Dharma were main idea of the paintings.
- An eminent painter Mordhwaj and Nihal Chand used to write his name in the bottom of the painting in Persian language. His famous work was ‘Bani-Thani’.
- This style was recognized by Eric Dickinson and Dr Faiyaaz Ali.
Famous Artists: Amir Chand, Dhanna, Bhanwar Lal, Surdhwaj, Mordhwaj and Nihal
- Ajmer Sub-Style
Theme: The most noteworthy style of Rajasthani miniature art. The royals along with common people contributed a lot. It featured palaces and huts.
Style: The paintings resemble the work of Bikaneri sub-style. It was adopted by different people.
Major Work: Male were portrayed as brave warrior, having long hair, curled moustache wearing Kamarband, Zari Pyjama, Mughal-Rathore turban. Ornaments for male were Turra, Sarpech, pearl necklace with swords in hands.
Women were painted tall, long and dense black hair, mehandi applied on hands, wearing clothes like lehenga, baseda, blouse and loogari.
Famous Artists: Chand Tayyab, Navla, Rai Singh Bhati, Lalji Bhati, Narayan Bhati and Rama. Prominent female artists was Shahiba.