Welcome to the mesmerising world of Pichwai art, a cherished Indian art form that has enthralled art lovers for centuries. Pichwai paintings are renowned for their intricate details, vibrant colours, and spiritual themes. They narrate the divine stories of Lord Krishna (also known as Shrinathji), particularly his enchanting escapades in Vrindavan. In this blog, Rooftop explores the exceptional talent of five esteemed Pichwai artists from India who have made a significant impact with their remarkable artistic prowess and contributed to the preservation and evolution of this captivating art form.
History of Pichwai Paintings
Pichwai paintings have a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century. These beautiful artworks originated in Nathdwara, Rajasthan, a town famous for the revered Shrinathji Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, portrayed as a child in the form of Shrinathji.
Local artists in Nathdwara drew inspiration from the rich religious tales and legends surrounding Lord Krishna, leading to the birth of Pichwai paintings. These masterpieces skillfully depict intricate scenes from the divine life of Lord Krishna. They are also referred to as Shreenathji or Shrinathji Pichwai paintings.
Over the years, numerous talented Pichwai artists have emerged, leaving an indelible mark in the world of art.
Let’s take a glimpse at some of the renowned and highly respected ones:
Rajaram Sharma is a highly skilled artist who specialises in Pichwai paintings. Immersed in Pichwai art since childhood, Rajaram Sharma honed his skills under the guidance of Tulsidas Ji, the head of the Shrinathji temple. With years of training and dedication, he has become an expert in Pichwai and Miniature painting.
His paintings vividly depict the timeless and vibrant narratives of Lord Krishna’s divine life. They leave a lasting impression on all who appreciate his work.
Operating his own studio called “Chitrashala” in Udaipur, Rajaram Sharma creates captivating artwork and shares his expertise with aspiring artists. He received the prestigious National Merit Certificate in 2016.
You can admire his exquisite artworks at various esteemed locations, including the Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara, the Haveli of Shrinathji in Udaipur and Ghasiyar, and even at the renowned Victoria Monroe Fine Art Gallery in Boston, USA.
Raghunandan Sharma is one of the most renowned Pichwai artists in Nathdwara. He takes immense pride in showcasing the Pichwais created by his father and grandfather, which now hold a special place in the family heirloom.
He paints with great patience and uses priceless natural colours passed down through generations. Adding to his remarkable accomplishments, Raghunandan Sharma recently led a team of artists from Nathdwara in the creation of a monumental pichwai painting.
This extraordinary work, Kamal Kunj, measures an impressive 27 x 57 feet, making it one of the largest ever commissioned pichwai paintings. The masterpiece is part of the Reliance Foundation’s endeavour to revive and promote the 400-year-old art form native to Nathdwara, Rajasthan.
Suresh Sharma, a talented artist, had the honour of creating a Morakuti (peacock) Pichwai cover exclusively for AD India magazine. He is a skilled painter and one of the founders of the Artists of Nathdwara (AoN), an organisation established in 2015 to promote Pichwai art worldwide and share its beauty with everyone.
Belonging to a prestigious artist family, he draws inspiration from his grandfather, Bhurelalji, and actively contributes to revitalising Pichwai art, raising awareness on a national and international scale.
Parmanand Sharma, born into a family of Pichwai artists and devotees of Shrinathji, has been immersed in this art form since childhood. Serving as the mukhiya (leader) of the Artists of Nathdwara, he proudly carries forward the artistic legacy of his ancestors.
Parmanandji draws inspiration primarily from his grandfather, Shri Champalalji, a renowned artist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who gained worldwide acclaim for his exceptional talent and contributions to the Mota Mandir in Mumbai.
Building upon his grandfather’s esteemed reputation, Parmanandji and his two elder brothers have also become masters of the art. He showcases his exquisite works in various exhibition camps across Rajasthan, including the revered Nathdwara Mandir.
Parmanand, specialising in Nathdwara pichwais and miniature paintings, becomes a torchbearer of devotion through his artistic expressions.
Kalyanmal Sahoo, hailing from Beawar, defied his farmer’s background to become a master of Pichwai art. His journey from a novice to a renowned artist showcases his remarkable talent and dedication. He received the prestigious national award for his exceptional talent in 2011.
Kalyanmal’s exceptional artworks have been recognised nationally, with three paintings displayed in the esteemed Rashtrapati Bhawan. His artistic abilities have even captured the attention of the brother of the Dalai Lama, further solidifying his reputation as a celebrated Pichwai artist.
Some last thoughts…
Let us celebrate and admire the extraordinary talent of these five Pichwai artists, whose artworks reign supreme. They remind us of the timeless beauty and cultural heritage encapsulated in each brushstroke. Their artistic endeavours keep the flame of Pichwai art alive, ensuring that future generations continue to cherish and appreciate this cherished Indian art form.
Read more on the topic of Pichwai painting:
Discover us on Instagram @rooftop_app for all things on traditional Indian art.