Mysore Painting

Mysore painting


Etymology: Since these paintings originated in the city of Mysore, the paintings assumed their name from their place of origin

Origin: Mysore paintings were developed in the Mysore city of Karnataka, India. This art form got patronage during the Wodeyar Dynasty reign.

Location: The artisans spread far and wide in the state of Mysore (now Karnataka) when they took refuge under the Wodeyar dynasty. Most of the artisans settled in Mysore making it the hub for this art form to thrive. 

Relevance: These paintings serve as rich literature of documentation and preservation of religious, cultural, and mythological events. Themes range from independent deities and scenes from epics to occasional portraitures of royalties and their families. Mysore and Tanjore subsequently became great cultural centres where the traditional painting of the Vijayanagar School was given a new lease of life.


Significance: Most painting traditions in Karnataka trace their origins back to the Ajanta times i.e. 2nd century B.C. to 7th century A.D. Even the Mysore painting emerged from this legacy around the time of the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings. 

Culture and Societies: The Mysore school of painting flourished during the Wodeyar reign but declined again under Tipu Sultan. It was Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1799-1868 A.D.) who ushered in a new era by reviving the ancient traditions of Mysore and extending patronage to music, sculpture, painting, dancing and literature. 

Religious significance: Religious and mythological stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana and Jain epics form the primary basis of a large number of Mysore traditional paintings.

Understanding the Art

Style: Mysore paintings are known for their thin, intricate and defining line work and their application of soft hues of colours. Their decorative gold leafing work is what puts them in the spotlight as they use 24-carat gold for it. 

Central motifs: This art form is based on mythological and religious scriptures, the themes and motifs of Deities of gods and goddesses such as ‘(Goddess) Rajarajeshwari’, ‘Sri Rama Pattabhishekam’, ‘Kondandarama’, ‘Dashavathara’, ‘Chamundeshwari’, ‘Lakshmi’, and ‘Saraswati’ are depicted. 

Mysore Painting

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Many figurines and paintings using this technique are installed in many public and exclusive spaces. The most prominent one is of ‘Ashtamangala’ (welcoming good luck) figurines installed at the Bangalore International Airport.