Mysore paintings are the emblems of beauty originating from the classical South Indian painting in the town of Mysore
. Vijayanagara School of painting (1336 A.D. to 1665 A.D) was way apart from their ancestral path showers in the artistic map of India. The pupil of this cult mastered their art in drawing war scenes, folk dances, animal hunting, commercial transactions, and everyday life of the common people. The Mysore and Tanjore traditional paintings are the offshoots of the Vijayanagara School. These paintings are renowned for their sophistication, subdued colours, and attention to detail. The subjects for most of these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from the legends like Mahabharata
, Bhagavata Purana
and also the Jain epics. These paintings are used as mementos during the festive occasions in South India. Stylish demarcation of the images, frail lines and convoluted brush strokes are all the characteristics of Mysore paintings.
Raja Woodeyar (1578-1617 AD) of Mysore was well known for his considerable involvement to patronize art and encourage artists. The Mysore kings were ruling the princely state from Srirangapattana and Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617 A.D.) employed several painters from Vijayanagara
and thus laid a sound foundation of Mysore Traditional Painting. These painters were also assigned allied work in decoration, preparing banners, doll making, gold work, painting the temple cars, preparing portraits of rulers, deities and saints. The Mysore kings that followed also encouraged this style of painting. Local available raw materials were the main ingredients of paintings hair of the squirrel was used as brushes by tying them with a silken tread and inserting them in the narrower end of a quill. These artists were engaged in showcasing these eye-catching paintings on temple walls, banners and also palace walls. He had constructed two shrines, one at Srirangapatna and the other at Ganjam for Nimishamba Devi, the Goddesses which are worshipped by the artists. Mysore art was given a major impetus during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Woodeyar who rose to power after the death of Tipu Sultan
in 1799 AD. These paintings showed a pictorial description of subjects and depicted the scenes and figures of the Hindu mythology on palaces of rich and royal community, the household of the merchants and the noble class. On the walls of Jagan Mohan Palace the attractive Mysore paintings can be seen.
The canvas of the Mysore painting was made of cartridge paper pasted on a wooden base. A paste made of Zinc oxide and Arabic gum was prepared called "jesso paste", which was applied to the base. The primary sketch was then made on the canvas. In order to give the picture a larger than life depiction, a small raised effect was made, on which the images like thrones or the arch were painted with a thin brush. A gold foil was pasted after the painting had dried. The colouring was done using the water-colors for which only the subtle colours were used. In the olden days, the artists were adept in not only the making the painting, but they were also dexterous in preparing all the required resources such as the brushes, colour paints, canvas and the gold foil. The process of making paints employed the method of extracting colours from different plants and minerals. A paper, wood, cloth or a wall formed the canvas for painting. The Mysore painting uses thinner gold foil compared to the Tanjore painting
. Grass blades were used to give a sharp edged effect to the painting. The colors were made by crushing the minerals in the stone mortar and then adding some water to make it into a soft paste. Goat, camel and squirrel hair was used to make brushes.
Mysore paintings showcase beautiful divine figures like Goddess Saraswati
playing the Veena
or Goddess Lakshmi
bestowing an abundance of wealth on her devotees. The Mysore paintings incorporated a wide gamut of colours enhancing the overall effect with use of high up light and shade effect. Some of the characteristic themes in these paintings are Dashavatar, Laxmi, Saraswati, Rajarageshwari, Sri Rama, Kodanada Rama, Tandavashwera and Vishvarupadarsha.
Raasi Art Foundation has renewed the Mysore painting with constant encouragement, training and endorsement. These great works is accomplished by group of talented artists.