Adil Shahi, Nizam Shahi and Qutub Shahi rulers were the patrons in the development of Deccani School of painting. A lot of artists flourished during the rule of Ibrahim Adil Shah (II) (1580-1627), who was a great lover of painting. It is evident from the availability of numerous portraits of Ibrahim Adil Shah in different museums of the world.
One of the finest portraits of him can be found in the Lalgarh Palace at Bikaner. The British Museum has another portrait of him, which was reproduced by Douglas Barrett and Basil Gray in `Painting of India`. These two portraits represent the typical characteristics of Deccani School of painting, like the `richness and mellowed grandeur`, which were set in a mysterious background.
The Deccani school of Painting got inspiration from the Mughal School and evolved its own unique and very characteristic style. In the Prince of Wales Museum of Mumbai, the painting gallery has some typical examples of Deccani paintings, which have pale green, mineral-coloured backgrounds with figures placed squarely in the foreground. There are few other collections of Deccani paintings from Bundi, of the 18th century available here in this gallery, which deals with the theme of love. Another painting of the gallery depicts a lady looking in a Mirror (Bundi, 18th century). In this one, the artist has created a courtyard with a lush garden in the background and a pond of lotuses in the foreground that blossom in reflection of the glory of the young girl, or lover. One more painting of Bundi in 17th century depicts a `Nayika` in agony painting in another mood. The young lady is in agony, suffering the torment of separation from her lover.
Ibrahim Adil Shah was shown as a musician in few other paintings available in the Naprstck Museum, Prague, and the Goenka Collection, Calcutta. Although the Mughal School of painting and the Deccani School of painting developed the naturalism due to European influence, yet there was a difference between the two. The Mughal school paintings were more dazzling in technique whereas the Bijapur or the Deccani School of painting represented more naturalism due to imaginative composition and poetic content.
Some other Deccani paintings of that period include the paintings of an "Elephant", "Ayogjni", "Saints", "Elephant fights", "Sparrows", "Falcons" etc. These paintings have a distinct quality of their own in the very unconventional composition. The rich landscape mysterious atmosphere, gem-like colouring, lavish use of gold, exquisite finish, profusion of large plants, flowering shrubs, and typical Dakhni castles in the background and above all, the sweeping decorative rhythm that is of Bijapur origin are quite visible in them.
But in many cases, the names of those creative painters were not known. There great works and reference of them are collected from the following sources:
The manuscript of Najutn-ul-ulum is the most primitive work, which consists of about 876 illustrations. Few other later illustrations are of Ajaib-ul-Makhhtqat, Ratan Kalian, Nimat Nama, Khwas Nama and Masnawi of Nusrati. Some other paintings of that period include the wall paintings on some old buildings such as Sat Manzil Palace and water pavilion at Kumatgi.