Rooftop

rooftop
mewar miniature painting

mewar miniature

Background

Etymology: Since the Mewar school of painting has its roots in the Mewar province, it is named after its place of origin. 

Origin: Mewar school stems from Mewar in the state of Rajasthan.

Location: The important centres for these miniatures are Chittor, Udaipur, and Nathdwara. 

Relevance: In the 19th-century European influence was also seen in the paintings of Mewar but typically Kutch mounted prints, this influence changed the whole dynamic of Rajasthani paintings and its schools.

History

Significance: These miniatures are influenced by the Rajput rulers more than the Mughal rulers as the Rajputs took over the settlement of tribes such as Bhil and Mina. The attire in which the characters are seen in these miniatures is wholly Rajput-Rajasthani clothing.  

Culture and Societies: Mewar being a district in Rajasthan, is mainly Rajasthani culture. The Mewari dialect is spoken locally, and the Mewars are socially integrated people who enjoy festivals and widely celebrate Rajasthani culture. 

Religious significance: Mewar is classified in Deogarh, Pratapgarh, and Nathdwara, and Mewar is under its group. Krishna cult as the theme was significant in many schools, it focus on religious themes of Gujarat Jain, tales of Radha-Krishna, Vaishnavas, Srinathji etc. Along with the local idiom, elements of Mughal art can be seen.

Understanding the Art

Mewar Miniature
The Mesmerising Miniature Art of Mewar (axisbank.com)

Style: The sharp features of these miniatures make these miniatures distinguishable from other Rajasthani miniatures. They have sharp noses, oval and sometimes round faces and almond-shaped eyes. The women are drawn shorter than the men. The clothes the characters adorn are given a lot of importance, and the fabric draped around them is depicted to be transparent with light floral prints on their ‘Chunnis’, ‘Ghaghra’, and blouses.

Central motifs: These paintings depict nature in abundance as the region of Mewar is surrounded by shrubbery, water bodies, and mountains. Mentions of the lotus flower are significant as it symbolizes divinity and purity. Verdant scenery with the scarce depiction of architecture makes the composition of these paintings complete. 

new outlook

The British’s growing political power in the Mewar area during the 19th century did less to the Mewar school’s artistic legacy. The second half of the 19th century has just seen a brief artistic change carried on by the visits of British artists including William Carpenter, Val Prinsep, and Marianne North. But by this time, Udaipur’s manuscript painting tradition had significantly diminished, and photography eventually replaced the tradition of court paintings.

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