Buddhist Literature in India is filled with examples of texts which go on to describe mansions of kings and aristocratic class overstated with paintings, but the Ajanta Caves are very significant of them all. Indian paintings offer a visual variety which expands from the early evolution to the present day. From being basically religious in purpose in the beginning, Indian painting has developed over the years to become a combination of a variety of cultures and traditions.
Six Limbs of Indian Painting
Around the early period of 1st century BC there evolved Six Limbs of Indian Paintings or Sadaga. These 'Six Limbs' have been translated as follows:
• Rupabheda: The knowledge of appearances.
• Pramanam: Correct perception, measure and structure.
• Bhava: Action of feelings on forms.
• Lavanya: Yojanam Infusion of grace, artistic representation.
• Sadrisyam: Similitude.
• Varnikabhanga: Artistic manner of using the brush and colours.
Ancient Indian Paintings
Ancient Indian art has seen the rise of the Bengal School of art in 1930s pursued by a lot of forms of experimentations in European and Indian styles. With the development of the economy the forms and styles of art also undergo many changes. Monuments of the exceptional value are Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, here, more than 500smaller rocks and caves contains thousands of paintings. Some of the oldest paintings here are more than 15000 years old, and in some cases it is 30,000 years old. The prehistoric art from is spread all over India from snow covered Himalayas to south of Tamil Nadu.
Indian Cave Paintings are regarded as the earliest evidences of Indian paintings which are made on cave walls and palaces while miniature paintings are small-sized colourful, intricate handmade illumination. This starts from prehistoric cave painting of Bhimbetka and flourishes through cave paintings of Ajanta caves, Ellora caves and Bagh.
History of Indian Cave Paintings like that of Ajanta and Ellora refers to the Buddhist monks who employed painters to draw the life and teachings of Lord Buddha and Buddha Jataka on the walls of the Ajanta caves, where they painted the figures along with their costumes and jewelleries in beautiful colours and style while in Ellora caves the paintings are mostly of Hindu deities.
Medieval Indian Paintings
During Medieval period, India observed important development in the field of art of painting. The Medieval India is the part of Indian history between the 8th century and the 18the century A.D. The Persian tradition of miniature painting was also first introduced by the local rulers. It was during Akbar's supremacy that the painting was organized by a grand concern which brought jointly Hindu and Muslim painters and artisans from diverse parts of India, particularly, from regions like Gujarat and Malwa where manuscripts and miniature paintings had developed.
Mughal Paintings mainly describes Indo-Islamic design of painting and flourished in the ateliers of Mughal emperors including Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Tanjore Paintings are classical South Indian form of painting which evolved in the village of Thanjavur.
Rajasthani paintings are miniature paintings of the finest quality, which are made both on paper and on large pieces of cloth. A number of famous schools of painting are Mewar, Hadoti, Marwar, Kishangarh, Alwar and Dhundhar. It is also known as Rajput Paintings and has clear influence of Mughal paintings though it quite unique in its own way. Pahari Painting is the miniature painting evolved in the hilly states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir during the period of Rajputs. These paintings have beautiful scenes of Himalaya as the backdrop.
Modern Indian Paintings
Glass Painting in India is a new concept and is extremely wonderful for its clarity and richness of colours. Patachitra flourished in the state of Odisha and is made on cloth with extremely vivid colours and mythology-based subject. Kalighat pots are another form, which are made on earthen pot or cloth. These are mainly used as wall hangings. Marble Painting is also a type of modern Indian painting which is made on exquisite marble stones. Marble paintings are mainly used for decorative purpose, especially on tabletop, furniture and flower vases. The Indian artists adopted Indian Oil painting as a unique technique of art and Raja Ravi Verma was considered to be the pioneer who made this new medium popular in India.
Indian Folk Painting gives a pictorial expression of village painters, which are marked by the subjects chosen from epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and other mythological stories. Kalamkari is the form of art that involves weaving and block printing apart from painting. Silk Paintings and fabric paintings are done on cloth or different types of fabric Bengal School of Arts and Madras School of Arts were established by the British to enhance the art culture in India.