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Mysore painting


Etymology: These paintings were named after the city of Mysore, which is the place of their origin.

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

Location: Artisans settled far and wide in the state of Mysore (now Karnataka) when they took refuge under the Wodeyar dynasty. Most of them settled in Mysore, which transformed it into a hub for this thriving art form.

Relevance: These paintings serve as a 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 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 themes of a large number of Mysore traditional paintings.

Understanding the Art

Style: Mysore paintings are known for their thin, intricate and defined line work, and their application of soft hues and colours. They use 24-carat gold for decorative gold leaf work, which is what puts them in the spotlight.

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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new outlook

Many figurines and paintings made using Mysore painting techniques are displayed in many public and exclusive spaces. The most prominent one is a figurine of ‘Ashtamangala’ (welcoming good luck) which was installed at the Bangalore International Airport.

Mysore Art blogs